Scientists of the Don State Technical University of Rostov-on-Don have introduced their smart robot to media and market. According to one of the developers, Alexei Krivonosov, Waybot (the robot’s name) was created to replace a person in repetitive operations: service payments, enquiry facility, excursions, navigation assistance, and help desk, as well as printing tickets and photographs.
Pleased to Meet You
The first thing that Waybot does after switched on is extending his right hand to shake yours. Waybot is able to move smoothly in space and maneuver among a large number of people. He is enabled to do so thanks to a special three-beam platform on all-round wheels developed by the university.
Among other independent developments by Rostov scientists are the robot’s drives, electronics, software, and design.
“For this prototype, we developed a question-and-answer database. But we are elaborating a neural network function, with which the robot can "think over” what he says on the basis of other patterns and scenarios of its communication or emotional expressions”, - the project manager Daniil Panchenko pointed out.
The robot can do more than just reproduce the answers programmed in his system. His question-and-answer system works on a recurrent neural network. Simply put, Waybot has intelligence.
"He really has an intellect, a neural network, and replenishes its database itself. You can download any text, even a book, into it in advance. The neural network will process it, and in case it finds connection between the words, he can respond. So every time he learns”, - explains another developer, Alex Krivonosov.
Work on TV
Created recently, Waybot has tried his wings as a co-presenter at the state TV and radio company Don-TR in Rostov-on-Don. The subject of the telecast was very close to him - artificial intelligence.
“Good evening, dear viewers. I was designed by the students of the Don State University for the purpose of working in public gathering places and helping people”, - these were the first words of Waybot on television.
After that, the robot was entrusted to introduce the guest to the studio, and at the very end of the interview, Waybot suggested which route the interviewer would most conveniently return to work with. Despite a small number of replicas, during the event the "smart" robot was saluting viewers from time to time, turning his head in different directions, moving around the studio, and sometimes “blinking” with his electronic “eyes”."
It is Waybot’s emotionality that his creators refer to as one of the robot’s unusual advantages. Waybot is able to impart an emotional coloring to his behavior for “creating a user’s amiable perception”. For example, his electronic “eyes” can take the shape of two hearts, just like in some cartoon characters in love.
There are Orders Already
The developers are already getting the first orders for the smart robot. In May 2018, Waybot will conduct excursions around the History Center of the Don University, and a month earlier, the first model on the order of the Rostov Zoo will be ready. Altogether, an order for four robots has been signed with the Zoo.
“Rostov Zoo plans to purchase 4 robots for printing entrance tickets to the zoo with their help, which in time may completely replace the functions of usual box offices”, - they explained.
The developers add that there are negotiations with airlines and several potential customers in Moscow.
It should be noted that Waybot can be used for marketing purposes to advertise brands, for meeting or accompanying people, as well as providing the information required by users. The robot created in the Don State University can automate the issuance of electronic queue tickets, ticket printing, boarding passes at the airport, and so on.
Author: Vera Ivanova