At last year’s DEVIEW, the NAVER LABS robotics team announced the 3D indoor mapping robot, M1. Since then M1 has evolved into the product AROUND which was unveiled at this year’s annual conference.
AROUND has been manufactured to increase the popularity of indoor autonomous robots whose high price tag has so far prevented their penetration in the consumer market. By making them more accessible, people will be able to experience a number of indoor autonomous driving robot services in different spaces and environments.
The LABS solution distributes the core functions of autonomous driving that constitute a high proportion of the manufacturing costs. Up to now, robots had to produce maps, identify locations, create of routes and avoid obstacles. NAVER LABS has allocated these requirements to different devices that work in tandem. The devices developed by LABS are AROUND, M1 and map cloud.
M1 produces the map, map cloud creates the routes and AROUND focusses on accurate autonomous driving and avoiding obstacles using only low-cost sensors and little processing power. The reduction in manufacturing costs will make it possible to mass produce customised, indoor service robots that can assist people in many different places and in many different ways.
AROUND is scheduled to operate for the first time at the YES 24 bookstore at the F1963 shopping complex in Busan. AROUND will collect books that customers have finished browsing in its storage unit and move them to a designated place if they exceed a certain weight. From there, employees can collect the books to put them back. The collection solves one of the most tedious chores book store employees have to deal with on a daily basis. As books are computerized in the store, if even a single book is in the wrong place, employees need to check all the surrounding books. AROUND is expected to significantly relieve staff from such painstaking work.
AROUND will change the reading experience in book stores because it connects the spaces where books are displayed with where people read them. AROUND will make it possible for people to choose their books and take them to a comfortable place for browsing instead of having to look at them standing up. When they’re done, they simply put them in AROUND who will take them away. The ambient intelligence of AROUND is its integration with the user context and the cultural characteristics of space to create a better experience.