Have you guys ever thought that there will be someone or something to carry your stuff around? How about a robot to carry your belongings? Though robots are increasingly making their way into factories, offices, banks and airports, they are still not something you'd encounter walking down a street.
Piaggio Fast Forward promises to bring us a bit closer to that science-fiction reality with its smart cargo vehicle, Gita. It is a small, attractive, colourful device that can follow you everywhere and always ready to lend a hand when you've taken on too much to carry.
The Gita, which is pronounced as 'jee-ta', is the first project from Fast Forward, a new offshoot from the larger Piaggio Group. Piaggio has put in decades of design expertise and those can be seen in Gita.
The shiny machine has large rubber treads that act as tyres and cameras that help it navigate. There's a small compartment accessed via the hatch on top, which can carry up to 40 pounds. For larger loads, Piaggio is also working on a larger sibling called the Kilo. It's more than twice as long with an open bay and can handle up to 200 pounds. The Kilo is intended for delivery people, who can fill up the container with packages and have it follow them on their routes.
HOW EXACTLY DO THEY WORK?
They don't use GPS and it is also intended to work indoors as well as outdoors. Right now, there are two modes of basic operation. Gita can follow a person who wears a special belt, which connects to the robot via Wi-Fi. The belts are currently rough, bulky prototypes. It has cameras built in, which helps the Gita know where you're going.
The robot maintains a certain amount of good distance while you're walking or running but will sidle up close once it's determined you've stopped moving around. The other mode is autonomous mode, in which it will map out an area and journey to and fro on its own. This can be useful for letting it run errands one of the current ideas is to have Gita do deliveries.
Gitas can also work together in a convoy, communicating with each other about their surroundings and traveling in a straight line just like ducklings who follow their mother.
At its testing phase now, Gita will take its place in corporate companies, hospitals and stores soon to see how it adapts to the surroundings.
We can expect the robot to assist people sometime in the near future. Piaggio would like a future where people don't need cars and walk a lot more and for that you might need a thing to carry your stuff. This may come in handy for many in the coming days.
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