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Maybe too Early for Robots to Step into Service Industry

By Korbin Lan
Published: Sep 30,2016

Figure 1: Hiwin technology showcased a service robot which can interact with people.
Figure 1: Hiwin technology showcased a service robot which can interact with people.

Taiwan’s industrial automation equipment suppliers are expanding their market scope by trying to step into service industry. These companies plan to provide service robots to the banks, supermarkets, hospitals and retail stores helping them from take care of basic information providing services and heavy physical manual work. However, there are a lot of improvements have to be done.

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Not like in the industrial field where robots are speed and precision oriented, service industry is strictly committed to provide highest level of services quality which passion, elegance and consistency are needed. However, in current stage, robots are far away from these requirements except consistency, and not mention to provide quality services.

In the Taiwan Automation Intelligence and Robot Show 2016, some of service robot applications was showcased by robotic solutions companies who are very successful in the manufacturing industry. And they attempted to bring their industrial products and know-how to service industry with some twist and transformation, like a robotic arm that can make ice cream then handing over to customers and decorate cakes or puddings.

The medical treatment field is also favored by these companies, because of in where huge amount of labor works need to be carried out including patient transporting and rehabilitation assisting. And they showcased few assistant robots to fulfill these needs from medical staff.

All of these demonstrations was very impressive and admirable, but it still has something to worry about while putting these robots into real circumstance. For example, weight, noise, power consumption and safety of the robots.

Another issue is the cold and highly repeating interactive experience, which is probably the last thing you don’t want to have as being serviced.

Luckily, the majority of the technical problems will be solved by time, thanks to the surprisingly scientific and technological evolution. But the true problem is the experience of interaction which it is very difficult to transcend.

Although Softbank's Pepper was hot selling, but it was not an ample evidence, because people are looking forward to forming an industry rather than a phantom.

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