SoftBank Group Corp. has started accepting orders for its second robot, but unlike the humanoid Pepper that went on sale three years ago, this one will just mop your office floors.
Whiz, an autonomous floor-cleaning machine for businesses, will go on sale in Japan in February, the company announced Monday. The 32-kilogram, battery-powered machine is powered by Softbank's AI Cleaning PRO (Brain OS) self-driving software and an array of sensors and software from Brain Corp. It will be available for rent for 25,000 yen ($222) a month.
The robot comes with a handle which a human uses to “teach” it the layout of the space that needs cleaning. After that it can perform the task autonomously by just pushing the start button. Softbank says the robot is capable of cleaning up the room's corners while avoiding collision with possible obstacles, using a laser range finder (LiDAR), a 3-D camera and a collision sensor. It's battery can last as long as 3 hours.
Pepper, SoftBank’s first foray into robotics, was marketed as a companion in the home and a sales assistant on the shop floor. While the $1,600 robot is capable of expressing human-like body language, keeping eye contacts and engaging in limited small talk, it failed to catch on.
|Size (L × Width × H)||Approximately 455 × 474 × 653 mm (when the handle is stretched, the total height is about 1,000 mm)|
|Weight||Approximately 32 kg (including battery)|
|Battery||Lithium ion battery, about 5 kg, about 25 Ah, 25.2 V|
|Autonomy||About 3 hours (in normal mode), about 2 hours (in power mode)|
|Charging time||About 5 hours|
|Maximum speed||About 2.5 km / h|
|Ability to clean||About 500 m 2 / h|
|Dust collection volume||4.0 L (paper pack)|
|Safety functions||Obstacle detection / Fall prevention (LiDAR sensor, 3D camera), impact detection (sensor mounted bumper), abnormality detection (step sensor, wheel floating detection sensor, abnormal brake function)|