Willow Garage, Inc. has chosen Bosch for a research program called Personal Robot 2 (PR2). This $4 million program runs for two years and aims at helping scientific innovation in personal robotics by means of a joint effort among the members of the technical robotics community. The objective of this research program is to investigate novel uses of personal robots.
Overall 11 organizations including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Stanford University will take part in this research program, and Bosch will be the only company to receive a personal robot. The robotics group at the North American Research and Technology Center (RTC) of Bosch will work on developing robots that are safer, cheaper and more capable.
The Palo Alto-based robotics team of Bosch jointly works with its German Corporate Research experts, who are highly skilled in signal processing, sensing, and production. The key topics covered in this research program include the improvement of interaction between robot and humans and use of state-of-the-art sensor systems.
The personal robot comprises two arms for manipulation, a mobile base, 16 CPU cores for computation and a sensor suite. The PR2 will be utilized in several different projects during the two-year program. The Bosch team will incorporate its state-of-the-art sensor technologies, namely, gyros and force sensors, MEMS accelerometers and air pressure sensors, in the robot to allow for advanced applications and to speed up the large-scale deployment of robotics technology in new private and commercial environments.
Bosch will provide a sensing device to enable touch-free robot-human interaction in the PR2 and will ramp up the safety of robots by means of near-range sensing. Bosch will also examine the level of effectiveness of PR2-human interaction. Having humans in the loop will enhance the reliability and performance of the robot, which will enable the production of cheaper robots that can be used in environments that are more complex.
The Bosch RTC focuses on technologies and solutions mainly in the field of circuit design, sensors, wireless solutions, software engineering, car infotainment, complex simulations, design of human-machine interface, and autonomous systems such as robotics.