Robotics

Robot uses bending legs and pivoting wheels to traverse city streets

Robot uses bending legs and pi...
The Mighty delivery robot pictured alongside one of its piezoelectric motors, which allow it to stay in a given position without using any power
The Mighty delivery robot pictured alongside one of its piezoelectric motors, which allow it to stay in a given position without using any power
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The Mighty can be equipped with a heated or refrigerated cargo box, for the transportation of food
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The Mighty can be equipped with a heated or refrigerated cargo box, for the transportation of food
Like other wheeled delivery robots, the Mighty navigates cities using GPS, and utilizes cameras and a LiDAR sensor to dodge pedestrians and other hazards
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Like other wheeled delivery robots, the Mighty navigates cities using GPS, and utilizes cameras and a LiDAR sensor to dodge pedestrians and other hazards
The Mighty delivery robot pictured alongside one of its piezoelectric motors, which allow it to stay in a given position without using any power
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The Mighty delivery robot pictured alongside one of its piezoelectric motors, which allow it to stay in a given position without using any power
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We've recently heard about several urban delivery robots which would move along city sidewalks on four wheels. The Mighty bot brings something new to the mix, however, with pivoting wheels that are mounted on articulated legs.

One of the problems with some existing delivery robots lies in the fact that they're essentially just "smart" lockable cargo boxes with two sets of powered wheels on the bottom. This setup is fine for autonomously zipping along smooth sidewalks, but it's not great for going over curbs, climbing up steps, or otherwise traversing real-world obstacles.

Developed by Japanese robotics company Piezo Sonic, the Mighty was created to do such things. In fact, it's actually based on a design concept for a lunar exploration robot … and there are no smooth sidewalks on the Moon.

First of all, its four independently powered wheels can either point straight ahead for normal cruising, or they can all pivot 90 degrees to point sideways – the robot can then move straight to one side or the other. And if all four wheels pivot part-way inward or outward (so they form a circle) the Mighty can spin around on the spot.

Additionally, each wheel is mounted on its own hinged leg. This means that when the robot is moving over uneven terrain, each leg can independently bend to compensate, keeping the main body of the bot relatively level. It can also use this functionality to climb shallow sets of stairs without tipping over backward.

The Mighty can be equipped with a heated or refrigerated cargo box, for the transportation of food
The Mighty can be equipped with a heated or refrigerated cargo box, for the transportation of food

Like other wheeled delivery robots, the Mighty navigates cities using GPS, and utilizes cameras and a LiDAR sensor to dodge pedestrians and other hazards. According to Piezo Sonic, it can carry about 20 kg (44 lb) of cargo, step over obstacles up to 15 cm tall (5.9 in), climb 15-degree slopes, and attain a top speed of 10 km/h (6 mph). The robot weighs 25 kg (55 lb), and is estimated to be able to run for about four hours per battery-charge.

Along with its use in making deliveries, other possible applications include security patrolling of facilities, or performing tasks such as produce harvesting and soil sampling at farms (with the help of an added manipulator arm).

Plans call for the Mighty to initially enter use in the Ota Ward district of Tokyo. It recently won an Innovation Award at CES 2022, and can be seen in action in the video below.

【自律移動ロボット:Mighty D3】株式会社Piezo Sonic_PR

Source: Piezo Sonic

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4 comments
4 comments
Bob Flint
Needs to move faster than that, add a security box, & an arm to open doors, etc.
Username
Most of the video is on very smooth surfaces. The short clip on rough ground and over the cone shows it to be anything but staying level.
ljaques
I walk fast, and that thing would slow me down 75%, so work on the speed, guys. I noticed that the only step climbing it did in the vid was with a single pier block and one wheel. Show us some true stair climbing. If it has catlike reflexes, it can self-right or prevent itself from being overturned, but it can't with the turtle-like shown reflexes. The articulating legs can be a great thing. (See Hyundai Elevate vids)
ljaques
Oh, also add something like the Tesla corner cams, so they can catch the identity of people futzing with these bots from any direction and transmit it to the dispatcher and/or police.