Service Robot City

At your service: experience service robots live

Service robots are the future – a statement backed by record-breaking growth rates and the great success that was our Service Robot City 2023. What exactly they can they help us with? The joint pavilion offered valuable insights into the numerous fields of application, ranging from Health, Hospitality and Retail all the way to Work or Inspection & Monitoring. Our crowd puller: the machines staffing the Robot Restaurant on site. In 2025, the Service Robot City will once again fascinate its visitors with numerous discoveries – we are already excited about it.

Review of Service Robot City 2023

45 % of all visitors visited the Professional Service Robotics exhibition area and made the Service Robot City one of the most visited special shows – and 94 % gave it an excellent to good rating. If you didn’t get a chance to attend in 2023 or want to immerse yourself in this topic once again: roll it!

Nice to meet you: robots on site

However different their fields of application may have been, all presented exhibits had one thing in common: They offered interaction and fascinating live experiences. Plato (United Robotics Group) and its robotic catering colleagues of Keenon treated visitors with snacks and beverages in our robot restaurant. In addition, Excellentic used robotic waiters by OrionStar Robotics to hand out information leaflets to guests in a simulated hotel lobby. And this is where you met the Jeeves delivery robot by Robotise that can also be utilized as a mobile mini bar. Cocktail, anyone? The TruMixer by igus in cooperation with TruePhysics took on the role of barkeeper.

And there was a lot to discover in the lab, too: For example, there was uMobileLAB (United Robotics Group), which is responsible for sample handling. The UV disinfection robot HERO21 by ICA Traffic GmbH is used across all healthcare facilities – provided that no humans are around. It is quite different from the Workerbot9 Care-home by pi4_robotics, which has been designed for direct contact with residents and patients of inpatient care facilities. It performs tasks such as serving drinks and reminding people of important appointments.

The transport robots by PAL Robotics support production intralogistics. They are available with various chassis types and superstructures to support loads depending on the use case. The Tiago robotic assistant is even able to autonomously recognize and grasp required objects with its arms. Cary by Metralabs is a flexible transport robot capable of autonomously picking up loads while its colleague Tory autonomously performs inventory tasks, e.g. in retail environments. Apart from logistics, floor cleaning also plays an important role in industrial application scenarios. This is where CR700 by Adlatus shines as it autonomously performs its tasks in various indoor facilities.

In addition to various robots for use in completed buildings, the Italian Institute of Technology IIT also presented a robot for construction sites. Its field of expertise? Lifting and transporting heavy objects or marking walls for further processing.

Human Study #1 – Robot goes Art

Art or robot? Both. With Human Study #1, Patrick Tresset from France presented his most popular work in an unusual but very apt environment: right here in automatica Service Robot City. The installation features three robotic arms guided and controlled by a motorized camera to draw portrait sketches. What’s special about it: They sense the presence of the person being depicted, thus making her or him a part of the performance.

Workforce of the future

Why are service robots indispensable? An ever-increasing gap emerges as the baby boomers retire from the workforce. According to the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Germany had 1.98 million vacant positions in in the fourth quarter of 2022 – an increase of 8.8 percent over the third quarter. A Prognos study predicts a workforce deficit of 2.9 million people by 2025. The service sector is hit particularly hard under these circumstances. This sector will need automation to continue to function properly in the long run. The consequences? Disastrous. Because, apart from catering-related businesses, labs and hospitals are affected as well – exposing everyone’s health to risks.

The good news is that service robots have seen rapid development in recent years – and are now ready for deployment in many applications. From complex surgical procedures, care in retirement homes, and transportation tasks all the way to catering or even agriculture: the diverse range of applications is far from exhausted. Even the strawberry harvest can be done by robots.

The potential: practically boundless

The advancing development of cobots and service robots, some of which are mobile robotic systems and AGVs, also increases their potential. Increasing versatility and improved sensory capabilities qualify these robotic systems for an ever-expanding range of tasks. Service robotics is also boosted by conventional industrial robotics: from collaborative robots and no-code programming all the way to robots capable of seeing and feeling.

In addition: It has never been easier to operate and program robots – even for people without strong technical knowledge. This makes service robotics a relevant key technology in all kinds of sectors and fields. And that's exactly what the Service Robot City showcase at automatica was all about: the performance achievable with a new generation of robotics offering easy programming and intuitive operation.

Patrick Tresset, Photo by New Media Gallery

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