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Wheeled payload robot can control elevators

Oct 19, 2021 — by Eric Brown 205 views

SLAMTEC’s wheeled “Hermes” robot runs Android on an RK3399 and can carry up to 16 kg payloads. The autonomous bot includes 360° Lidar, depth cameras, WiFi and 4G links, a 7.5-hour battery, and an elevator controller.

Shanghai based robotics firm SLAMTEC has released a programmable wheeled robot equipped with a Rockchip RK3399 and SLAMTEC SLAM core localization and navigation technology. Selling for $5,600 at Seeed, the Hermes “cross-floor moving solution,” which is not to be confused with MIT’s humanoid HERMES telepresence robot, is designed for hauling payloads of up to 60 kg.



Hermes, front and back (left) and RoboStudio screen
(click images to enlarge)

Hermes is touted for its reliable, autonomous pathfinding capability, even in complex, heavily changing environments, as well as its superior obstacle avoidance, with the ability to avoid obstacles up to 20mm in height. The robot provides collision avoidance and boundary sensors to eliminate the collision and falling risks of obstacles such as steps, tables, and chairs. Other capabilities including the ability to climb 20° ramps and traverse heavy carpets.

An elevator controller, which runs its own Linux stack called the Elevator Agent, enables it to travel on most commercial elevator models. The robot can swap different floor maps as it moves between floors. The CNXSoft story where we found out about Hermes says the elevator package is optional, but Seeed suggests it is part of the $5,600 price.



Hermes (left) and elevator controller
(click images to enlarge)

The elevator feature makes the robot suitable for carrying supplies in multiple-floor buildings such as hotels, hospitals, and airports, as well as performing tasks such as disinfection and security patrols. It does not appear to be targeted at heavy-duty warehouse applications.

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The robot is equipped with an Android stack running on the hexa-core RK3399, supported with some open source sample Android apps. There is a RoboStudio graphical control management tool application available on Android and Windows that lets you create, manage, and edit maps for multiple robots. The system can also be programmed via a REST API with the SLAMWARE ROS SDK which runs on Ubuntu 16.04 with ROS and offers finer grained C++ programming.

Hermes is equipped with a 360° Lidar sensor with a 25-meter range or an optional 30m model. Dual depth camera sensors have a 0.2m-10m range and an FOV of 135° horizontal and 58° vertical. The robot has a 500 x 500m mapping area maximum and a map resolution of 5 cm.

The robot provides a boundary sensor with a 1cm minimum detection range, as well as a bumper sensor to avoid hard collisions. An embedded IMU sensor is used for robot status detection. The detail view also shows a code scanning camera and a magnetic cliff sensor, which presumably ensures the robot will not tumble down a flight of stairs.

The 574 x 465 x 272mm robot weighs 40 kg, although the 272mm height and weight are both excluding the “controller,” which is presumably the elevator control unit.



Hermes exterior (left) and mainboard detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Hermes moves at a standard 1.2 m/s, with maximum speed of 1.5 m/s. It runs on a standard 16Ah battery for up to 7.5 hours or an optional 25Ah battery for up to 11.5 hours. A possibly optional, 25.5V/6A charging station offers 3-4 hour charge times. Hermes “automatically returns to the charging station when its battery charge falls below a configured threshold or when its tasks are completed,” says SLAMTEC.

No RAM or storage details were listed for the robot, which is equipped with GbE, USB 3.0 Type-C, and 2x HDMI ports. The mainboard detail view also shows a USB 3.0 hub port, a user button, and various LEDs.

There is an audio I/O jack as well as a separate dual-channel, 5w / 8Ω amp jack. The system is equipped with WiFi and a 4G-ready expansion slot with SIM card slot. Dual antennas are also on board. The robot operates at -10 to 50℃.

 
Further information

Hermes is available at Seeed for $5,600, possibly excluding the elevator controller. More information may be found in the user manual (PDF) and the SLAMTEC Hermes product page, as well as the software links farther above.
 

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