In recent years, there has been an increase in the usage of service robots in industrial and commercial applications, i.e. robots performing services for or in collaboration with humans. Whether as automated guided vehicles for flexible, adaptive material flows in production, as autonomous inspection and maintenance robots for unmanned plants such as oil rigs or offshore wind parks, or as a production assistant for handling and assembly tasks – mobile service robots optimize cost-efficiency, quality assurance, flexibility and safety in a wide range of implementation scenarios.
Automated guided vehicles enable material flows to be flexibly adapted to the requirements of the respective task and to dynamically-changing environments. Parallels and synergies are found in state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and highly-automated vehicles.
When it comes to unpleasant work, such as commercial cleaning tasks, or dangerous jobs such as inspection and maintenance tasks on oil and gas platforms, service robots ensure consistent quality and promote better working conditions. Employees are relieved of these burdensome tasks and hazards are avoided.
Specially-adapted and highly-integrated service robots not only enable automation potentials to be fully exploited in typical areas, such as manufacturing and assembly, but also in areas where flexible automation is much rarer, e.g. agriculture. Consequently, service robots are implemented in milking carousels, or used for weeding and harvesting tasks.