While Amazon and Google are waiting for the day when they can deliver goods with flying drones. The Great Care Company, the leading UK-wide care organisation sees more opportunity on the ground.
Carebot, from The Great Care Company, is aiming to send robots into suburban homes to deliver their person-centred services. Sharing the sidewalks with robots has all sorts of scary implications. But here's why it could work:
Fleets of Carebot robots will be built and stored at a central loading hub. Then clients can order a care service when it's convenient for them with an "Uber-like app," said the Managing Director of Carebot, Mr Stephen Lolowitz. “You order your service, it arrives within 20 minutes and then the robot automatically returns to the hub after the high-quality service has been delivered.”
The robot uses GPS, sensors and cameras to travel on pavements at the same pace as a person and can make it up and down kerbs and small stairs. It will stop when there is an obstacle or pedestrian in its path. If someone tries to mess with the robot, a human operator at the Carebot central control centre can scare the thief away via a speaker and call the police. The robot has a microphone on it for two-way communication.
Unlike Amazon and Google, who are working with the authorities on flying regulations, Carebot is entering new territory with ground robots. Some countries and states do not yet have rules in place about the use of autonomous robots. But The Great Care Company team are confident they can persuade regulators to be open to the idea of sharing the streets with their "friendly" robots.
"It's almost impossible to get hurt by it," said Lolowitz.