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FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE RUBEDO CVM – INNOVATIVE OPTICAL COMPUTER VISION MODULE FOR UNMANNED VEHICLES

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Rubedo CVM (FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE RUBEDO CVM – INNOVATIVE OPTICAL COMPUTER VISION MODULE FOR UNMANNED VEHICLES)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-05-31

Lack of visual 3D perception is the sandbag of intelligent automation. The next generation of robots depends on the ability to acquire, organise, and interpret surrounding visual data to stay aware of the environmental situation and act both safely and adequately. Rubedos VIPER™ visual perception system achieves it by continuously measuring environment depth in 3D and performing industry-specific object detection and classification over medium to long range distances. With its integrated powerful computing unit VIPER is designed with the most challenging industrial applications in mind where smart navigation of mobile robots is key, such as material handling.

Industry 4.0 revolution is all about unleashing the power of intelligent machines so they can leave safety cages and seamlessly blend into our dynamic lives, safely collaborating with humans while performing dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks. A future generation of robots is set to operate not as replacements for humans, but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles. Unless they are contextually aware, versatile, modular, and reusable in different scenarios, they will not comply with the new standard.

The objective of the project was to prepare a feasibility study which will enable Rubedos to introduce the final product to the market, to better understand potential markets and end-user needs to make better strategic decisions for developing the business.
During the project, many different tasks were done including market research, user-need analysis, IPR strategy development, and business model and business plan development.

Firstly, the target market for material handling equipment was identified as the first priority market. During the market research, similar solutions to Rubedos VIPER were identified, as well as, estimated overall market size, its dynamic and forecasted growth. Market research helped to determine the potential future competition, define the target market and its size, most attractive market segments, trends, costs.

Secondly, the quality feedback about Rubedos VIPER system was collected from robots and robotic systems manufacturers, regarding its design and desired capabilities for successful commercialisation. 4 samples of the product were distributed to different companies for testing and collecting feedback from users by interviewing the product users identifying their needs and interest into further using the product.

Thirdly, the patent landscape and freedom to operate analysis were performed, which determined the potential limits of the innovation project, as well as gave more information about the current state-of-art in the computer vision industry.

Finally, the two-phase business model was developed. The main objective of this task was to prepare a business model as a roadmap for commercialisation of Rubedos VIPER system. A feasibility study, prepared during the execution of Phase 1, will enable Rubedos to introduce the final product to the market, to better understand potential markets and end-user needs to make better strategic decisions for developing the business.
Currently, robotic and autonomous vehicle manufacturers need specialised skills, knowledge, and know-how to develop computer vision solution in-house. There is a need for a standardised computer vision solution, which would be affordable, easy to integrate and would improve their robots’ environmental perception capabilities towards higher autonomy levels and local machine intelligence. The majority of state-of-art autonomous systems in material handling industry rely on automatic guidance via induction wire or magnetic waypoint based navigation, which is both inflexible and requires infrastructural modifications to operate. Little or no attempt is made to interpret the objects/obstacles which are encountered on their static missions. By contrast, our beyond state of the art system allows developing vision guided vehicles which can interpret surrounding visual data and act both safely and adequately in less structured environments, when performing material handling tasks.

By introducing VIPER, Rubedos will make robots more advanced as well as accessible for manufacturing and service SMEs. The material handling robots were chosen as an entry market for VIPER vision solution. It will have a socio-economic impact and help to boost the productivity and competitiveness and create new higher added value jobs.
Rubedos VIPER perception
Rubedos VIPER system