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BENEFITS OF TELEPRESENCE ROBOTS How are telepresence robots empowering smart factories?

Nov 1, 2022

To meet new industry demands, telepresence robots are rapidly growing in popularity. It is not only an effective option for promoting sound management of production processes, but also facilitates unsuspected aspects of an organisation’s activities. The article talks about the benefits of telepresence robots and market adaptability. - Dr T Senthil Siva Subramanian, Head – Institute Industry Interface Program, Sharda Group of Institution, Mathura; Prof Rajeev Kr Upadhyay, Director – Hindustan College of Science & Techology, Mathura, Telepresence: Concept to Ideology

Today is an era of telepresence tools – it could be telemedicine, telesurgery using soft robots, and companies with remote workers. The concept of frugal telepresence robots is immersive, robust, user-friendly and interactive to use, and it’s the next technological wave to being there in person. In healthcare, telepresence robots are being used to provide patients with remote access to doctors and nurses.

A wave of telepresence technology

Telepresence is an active medium in which transducers and digital sensors, such as high-definition video cameras and microphones, substitute for the corresponding senses of the participant. The participant can remotely see and hear from the first-person POV with the aid of sensing devices in a remote location, which is not usually reachable.

Next big wave: Telepresence robots

A telepresence robot is a remote-controlled, wheeled device that has wireless internet connectivity with Artificial Intelligence capability. Typically, the robot uses a compact and robust handheld device such as a tablet to provide video and audio capabilities.

The global market for industrial robots was sized at about $43.8 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 10 %, reaching almost $70.6 billion by 2028.

Telepresence robot: Concept of working

Telepresence technology enables users to be virtually omnipresent in every location at the same instance through live real-time video streaming. This kind of flexible and user-friendly real-time interaction is further enhanced through active mobility by driving remotely to a user from what is called a telepresence robot.

A typical modern telepresence robot contains a smart device such as a tablet, or computer that performs two functions: audio-video communication & commands transmission to control the robot’s active movement. The transfer of commands from the tablet to the wheelbase is carried out by electrical wires, via Zigbee, LoRaWAN technology, LiFi, Bluetooth, or WiFi.

Telepresence robots have voice-controlled AI speech assistants to guide human interactions. It finds potential applications in hospitals and healthcare applications.

Anatomy of telepresence robot

Telepresence robots are innovative man-machines that virtually connect individuals with locations where there is limited and restricted mobility, thereby, enhancing social interaction with a collaborative integrated approach and active live participation. However, there are always challenges and opportunities for operating and navigating these user-friendly robots by individuals who have very little knowledge and a map of the remote environment.

Avoiding obstacles via the narrow high-definition camera view and manual remote operation is a time taking and difficult task. The disadvantage being the users lack the sense of immersion while they are busy maneuvering via the real-time video feed, thereby, decreasing their real-time capability to handle multiple tasks.

Telepresence robots harness Industry 4.0 technologies, especially Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition also leveraging the 2D Lidar sensor. Telepresence generates two-dimensional occupancy grid maps via SLAM and provides assisted GIS-based navigation in reducing the onerous task of avoiding obstacles. The right attitude of the robotic head with an HD camera is remotely controlled via the mixed reality and virtual reality headset. Remote users will be able to gain a visceral understanding of the environment while teleoperating with the robot.

AI-based autonomous learning

AI trained highly supervised learning and autonomously navigate your ambiance and environment to ensure early or on-time arrival through unsupervised learning for meetings with scheduling options. The training allows:

  • Self-dock automatically to charge between sessions through switching operations via semiconductor microcontroller and semiconductor on-chip sets

  • Connect with remote user devices, including smartphones, tablets and computers via mobile app and web app or browser experience for always-on access

Telepresence robots: Features

  • Enterprise-level HD video quality and mega-pixel camera views that go beyond the standard laptop and conference room remote experiences

  • Experiencing everything from the entire room to upclose, micro-granular details

  • Easy user-friendly robust compatibility with other video platforms such as Zoom

  • A natural omnipresence that autonomously walks the hall, shop floor in industries and participates in an integrated collaborative approach

Market dynamics: Telepresence robot

The overall telepresence robot market was valued at $129.8 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $312.6 million by 2023, at a CAGR of 16.5% from 2018 to 2023. Telepresence robots are being used in a variety of industries to improve communication and collaboration. Colgate-Palmolive has successfully installed and commissioned telepresence and AI robots in India to create a high-tech smart factory. Telepresence robots are installed in Bengaluru and Coimbatore international airports to assist passengers and staff.

Image Gallery

  • Telepresence robots

  • Dr T Senthil Siva Subramanian

    Head – Institute Industry Interface Program

    Sharda Group of Institution, Mathura

  • Prof Rajeev Kr Upadhyay

    Director – Telepresence Concept to Ideology

    Hindustan College of Science & Techology, Mathura

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