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Quick and Clean: Deploy A Sanitizing Robot Without Full Autonomy


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several robotics companies have joined the battle against the virus. Some Robots are reporting for disinfection duty while Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot is helping hospitals remotely treat coronavirus patients.

In order to address the pandemic quickly, it’s necessary to not get hung up on trying to build full autonomy. That path is long, and there’s a way to get there while deploying early on.


A fleet of robots drive around hospitals radiating any viruses with ultraviolet light. Once the robot is built, it still needs to be directed where to go. (image credit: UVD Robots)


Hospitals, for example, are leveraging UVC lights to disinfect rooms. The catch here is that UVC lights are harmful to humans and operators must maintain at least a 10-foot distance. This is the perfect task for a remotely operated robot.

Multiple fleets deployed in hospitals for sanitation, delivery and other services use Freedom Pilot as we speak. These robots didn’t exist in their current form 60 days ago. Freedom Pilot allowed them to skip multiple months of development and join the fight against the virus sooner and make a big impact.


How It Works

You will need: a robot with an internet connection and Freedom Installed on it (5 minute, one-line install). You can rapidly deploy new robots or repurpose existing ones for new applications: if your robot has connectivity, you can control it with Freedom. Hire a fleet of operators to run it 8 (or 24) hours a day anywhere in the world within a week.


Step 0 - Ship it


The Freedom Pilot interface shows camera feeds, allowing you to ship a robot and control it with full teleop while gaining insight into the correct automation that needs to be built.


Freedom Pilot isn’t just about remote operations - it’s about getting your product to market now and building your way to full autonomy in validated, incremental steps. Deploy at first with full teleoperation, view camera feeds, and use the joystick to navigate between rooms. Add a command to the Pilot View to turn on the UV-C light onboard the robot and play an audio warning if a human approaches too closely.

  • WebRTC Teleoperation - View camera feeds and send commands with low latency browser to robot communication
  • Fault expectant - Buffering, compression and fast automatic reconnect to handle intermittent internet dropouts
  • WebRTC Teleoperation - View camera feeds and send commands with low latency browser to robot communication
  • Fault detection - Alerting and reporting so your development team knows when something goes wrong and can fix it.
  • Remote SSH - Access robots remotely through crazy firewalls to fix the detailed problems remotely.


Step 1 - Add basic navigation

Once the first robot is deployed you will gain valuable insight about your application’s process flow and requirements, including which features you need and don’t need to develop and what kind of autonomy you need to build in. As you add in a navigation system, you can send in navigation goals and watch the planned paths in Freedom. If anything goes wrong, you can always cancel the navigation goal and fall back to direct teleoperation again.


Freedom Pilot has 3D visualization of transformations along with goal and route saving and path plan visualization, all in realtime visualized from anywhere in the world.


When you add your navigation stack, you automatically have access to full remote tools for teleoperation, visualization and control:

  • Map Remotely - Launch mapping scripts and teleop the robot in new environments to create maps
  • Navigation Goals - Send and save navigation goals
  • Route Creation and Saving - Create and save routes with multiple stops along the way
  • Realtime 3D Environment - Transformation trees, occupancy grids, static and dynamic costmaps, lidar, planned paths, odometry
  • Relocalize - Send a new pose to a lost robot, operators visually match a real time lidar scan to the map
  • Point-to-Click Interface - Click on an image, we send that pixel coordinates to the robot in real-time.


Step N - Build your way to full autonomy

As your robot can run longer without intervention, you can begin to wean off teleoperation. Set up a Freedom smart alert to detect when navigation fails or time between paths is longer than expected. These alerts are webhooks that we built with integrations for PagerDuty, emails, or Slack notifications (messenger pigeons and smoke signals are still under development). Instead of operating one robot, you can now operate two, and with the next autonomy improvement, five.


A basic navigation stack is enough to control a robot remotely. Full and intuitive controls let you take over when the robot gets stuck.

Operators, engineers, or managers can then log in to inspect, fix problems and send the robot on its way. The alerts you trigger and the associated data are saved so you can track issues in a data-driven way and even squash them by training a neural net on data collected and annotated through the Freedom API.

When you are ready, you can choose to build your own custom interfaces in React, Angular, View, ObjectiveC and other languages on Freedom’s APIs and infrastructure or use real-time streaming of fleet data to enable cloud-based mission control, machine learning and other necessary capabilities for full autonomy.


Try it today!

Check out our documentation for more information on Pilot features and try it out on your robot with a free trial. We’d love to see how your application can benefit from Freedom Pilot. Shoot us an email anytime at hello@freedomrobotics.ai. Excited to see what you build!

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