If you hate driving to the nearby grocery store just to get a few things or having to push that heavy trolley throughout the superstore, the Piaggio Group has found the perfect solution for you.
The creators of Vespa, the Piaggio Group just moved into autonomous transportation with their new robot focused company called the “Piaggio Fast Forward”. The first product of the company will be a personal cargo robot named ‘Gita.’
Gita is the robot version of a trolley which will not require you to haul your luggage. This self-balancing two-wheeled cargo robot has the capacity of carrying 40 lb of weight. The little personal bot can either follow you around or even move around autonomously using maps.
The machine is capable of moving at speeds up to 22 mph with a zero turning radius, allowing it to maneuver just like a human. Standing a little over 2 feet (26 inches) tall, it is also capable of matching the speed of the human operator.
The name Gita (pronounced “jee-ta”) comes from Italian, meaning “short trip.” Gita works using an existing technology called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). The system creates a 3D point map of the user’s environment during the travel. It can identify its own and its user’s position within the generated map using a camera that tracks the belt worn by the user.
Once it has seen your destination, it creates a map of the path which you followed. It can later use the same map to go back to the same place autonomously. Waypoints can be set up by the user on the way to make the robot stop at certain locations. Piaggio Fast Forward COO Sasha Hoffman explains,
“If you walked all around your house, you could set up the kitchen, the dining room, the front door and the back entrance as different points on the map. If you were at your front door and you needed to send Gita with a package to your kitchen, there’s a touchscreen interface, and you could literally touch it and tell it within two buttons to head for the kitchen.”
If you go out of the line of sight of the robot, it can conveniently catch up with you as it has optically mapped the path that you walked. Along with the tracking cameras, the robot features an ultrasonic range-finding system, together they form an obstacle-avoidance system, so the robot does not run into objects.
Charging the robot takes about 3 hours which can easily last a use for up to eight hours at walking speed.
The good news is that Gita will launch on the 2nd of February and the bad news is that this version is intended to be tested in business environments. The consumer version, however, is expected to come out sometime later.
There is no news about how much the robot will cost. The prices are expected to be fairly high as the initial version is not consumer-oriented. In the next year, however, we can expect them to fall to an affordable level to count as a consumer product.
Watch the video and marvel at the beauty of this little robot.