Hitachi has developed the "EMIEW3," a humanoid robot capable of autonomously approaching store customers requiring assistance.
The robot uses what Hitachi calls "remote brain" consisting of a robotics IT platform connected to cloud-based intelligent processing systems. A remote operation system monitors and controls multiple robots at various locations.
Hitachi announced the first "EMIEW" human symbiotic in 2005, followed by the more advanced "EMIEW2" model in 2007. EMIEW2 featured functions necessary for customer and guidance services, and could move autonomously at a brisk human walking pace, it could isolate the human voice from background noise, access information from the Web to identify objects and use indoor network cameras as "eyes" to locate objects. More recently, artificial intelligence technology was applied for functions requiring advanced intelligent processing such as for dialogue with appropriate response to questions posed in different forms and predictive function to avoid collision with moving objects which may suddenly appear from blind angles.
Equipped with the various functions developed to date for EMIEW2, the newly developed EMIEW3 is further enhanced with functions to efficiently provide customer and guidance services such as the ability to identify a person requiring assistance, autonomously approach a person and initiate customer services, share information with other EMIEW3 units to ensure smooth service continuation, and if knocked over, to resume a standing position.
By linking human movement and network cameras for environmental recognition, the robot can identify customers requiring support and autonomously initiate customer services. Further, the voice and language processing technology allows voice to be recognized and translated even with background street noise, thus supporting business in communities with a large number of tourists.
The EMIEW3 is just 90cm tall and its weight is 15kg. It is able to keep pace with humans adjusting speeds up to a max. of 6km/h and overcome differences in floor levels up to 15mm.