How can a robot provide service by delivering refreshments in a restaurant or cafe or drinks / food in a care institution. This is the starting point for our 'Robot is geen Superbesmetter' (RIGS) project. During the recent Corona pandemic we start the project because the robot could ensure that the restaurant business stays longer open than without the robot, because the robot is no superspreader. The robot can deliver goods / refreshments without direct human contact. After the pandemic we found that the robot could also be useful because the robot can relieve the tasks of the existing personnel, which is helpful because we found that major changes happen in the availability of workforce. In fact some domains, e.g., restaurants and bars face a structural shortage of personnel.
The RIGS project started as a multidisciplinary project, aiming at the integration of ICT, Mechatronics, Law and Technology interaction disciplines and how these disciplines work together. An system engineering approach was and is applied and e.g., liability of the robots was addressed; article. At the moment the focus is on ICT development, eg. robot navigation.
Two hardware platforms are applied in the project. The first platform is 2 wheel robot (differential drive) on which a top is positioned. In the top cover drinks and goods can be stored, transported and delivered. In the Gallery: photo on left. This platform was developed by ICT and applied by the ICT students to program the robot, focus on navigating the robot. A predecessor of the robot was developed by Mechatronics students. A second platform was bought on the market. This is the Bellabot that was used for experiments on human robot interactions, which was conducted at the Vascobello restaurant at Strijp T in Eindhoven (2022) and at healthcare institution Vitalis (2023). Experiences in human robot interaction in the context of the delivery robot are reported in Robot Magazine (in Dutch).