Photo: FGtrade via GettyImages
Finally... a robot that can place elevator calls and transit between floors.
"Advances in Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) paved the way for companies like TK Elevator (TKE) to offer robot-elevator APIs to their customers. These APIs allow robots to operate elevators via software that interfaces directly with the elevator controller. While TKE has integrated its elevators with various third-party systems for decades — including robots and autonomous vehicles — these integrations were custom-designed to be discretely wired into elevator control systems. They could be labor- and material-intensive, and prone to failure if not properly maintained." (sourced: elevatorworld.com)
"In 2018, the OEM released its inaugural, standard robot-elevator API, the result of a successful pilot program that involved hospitality robots at a San Francisco hotel in 2017. Now, the technology is being integrated into the new Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC) at Foothills Medical Centre, set to open in 2023 and operated by Canada’s Alberta Health Services (AHS) in the city of Calgary." TKE Head of Digital Services Jon Clarine says:
The [San Francisco] deployment was very similar to that of the [CCC]. However, the robot use was different. At [CCC] they will be used for delivery and hospital operations. Once the robot system is programmed to communicate with our API, the implementation in the building is relatively simple: An ethernet connection is established between the robot server and the elevator controller, and the rest is software.” (sourced: elevatorworld.com)
"Through software, robots can ‘talk’ to elevators to place elevator calls and transit floors without the expense and complexity of discrete wiring or robotic arms, Clarine says. He observes that robots — often looking more like a piece of machinery than R2-D2 in a hospital or hotel setting — use elevators a bit differently than humans. Some move slower than humans or are programmed to wait until an elevator is unloaded prior to boarding the elevator car." (sourced: elevatorworld.com)
image courtesy of Government of Alberta
At the new Calgary Cancer Center (CCC), TKE completed installation of approximately 30 digitally advanced elevators with this robot supervised technology. These robots will be used to complete various tasks, primarily involving transporting medical supplies throughout the facility.
The Calgary's Cancer Center (CCC) 12-service elevators will feature TKE’s robot-elevator API, which promises to improve in-house logistics and increase productivity. The API will allow robots to call an elevator via Wi-Fi or 5G LTE, select a floor, then exit the elevator upon reaching its destination. TKE observes:
Using Machine Vision, a robot can determine if an elevator has enough room or it’s too full to accommodate a robot. The interface also informs the elevator system when to open the doors and adjust door dwell times to ensure the smoothest journey possible for the robot. The robotics interface can also be used for purposes such as housekeeping and security.” (sourced: elevatorworld.com)
image courtesy of Dialog Design
"Remote technology goes beyond elevators. TKE pioneered computer vision on escalators where it is used to detect unsafe activity such as someone leaning over the handrail or a child running in the opposite direction of travel. The system can then alert building security or slow the unit down to minimize injury risk.
Remote capability extends beyond robots at the Calgary Cancer Center, as well. Three of its service elevators are designed to be remotely controlled when moving dangerous materials such as nitrogen, meaning employees are no longer exposed to such materials. TKE has also installed a remotely activated "code blue" function on a group of elevators that can be used to quickly transport patients upon arrival at the Cancer Center." (sourced: elevatorworld.com)
Robot Elevator APIs could be labor- and material-intensive, and prone to failure if not properly maintained. Some of these robots can move slower than humans.
These Robot Elevator APIs could place elevator calls and transit between floors. The robotics interface can also be used for purposes such as housekeeping and security. In addition, these elevators use computer vision to detect objects and activities to improve dispatching and safety.
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