Survey robots occupy more common spaces every day, influencing our lives in different ways without us realizing it. These robots make tedious operations easier and more efficient, and many industries have begun to adopt these technologies. For some, they are already an essential part of their business models, with exponential deployment in the last two years. However, the implementation and integration of these robots with AI and computer vision capabilities can become an endless task. In this article, we are going to show you some solutions that greatly reduce research and development times and costs.

A few days ago, I was reading the news and a headline caught my attention—“Virtual reality: technology invented by a UK company allows candidates to prepare with virtual interviews.” The notice talked about how a student from the UK uses virtual reality to prepare for university and job interviews. I began to think that this is our future: virtual reality and the metaverse ecosystem.

Taking into account the situation created by the worldwide pandemic, virtual reality is an option to feel a little closer to people who are far away. Through virtual reality, we can connect and visit a place together, be in a city, museums, and squares.

Once the pandemic is under control, maybe you would like to see the hotel room where you are going to stay before choosing it. We can do all this through virtual reality. But to be able to live these experiences, a lot of prior work is needed, including mapping these locations, which is where Survey Robots come in.

What is the purpose of survey robots?

Survey robots are generally used to scan an area, for example, to generate HD maps or 3D models for virtual tours because they are equipped with sensors, cameras and a super-powerful computer that allow the survey of spaces and objects.

But where the purpose of surveying robots becomes more important is in streamlining a series of work at sites, such as the transportation and setting up of surveying equipment, surveying, and the recording of coordinate data, to save labor and optimize survey work.

How Camera, Communication, CAN-FD, Computer Vision and GPS plays an important role in Survey Robots

For maintenance purposes, this kind of robot helps us avoid entering confined spaces where it will be difficult to move around, possibly putting our lives in danger. And the survey robots can be used to scan machines and manufacturing plants for planned preventative maintenance (PPM). We humans tend to make mistakes when it comes to inspection tasks, and as a result, 98% of the costs for visual inspection are attributed to environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and preparation is only 2% of the inspection itself. And that’s where the survey robots come into action.

One of the main characteristics of survey robots is that they can move throughout a site with all the equipment necessary for surveying, including a total station and an accurate instrument, loaded on them. This makes it useful for more than one industry.

We find them in healthcare to help during surgery to make the entire procedure as accurate as possible, and cleaners minimise infections during hospitalization, such as The UVD Robot that is used as part of the regular cleaning cycle and aims to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Also, survey bots can assist people in retail or city buildings. They can help collect accurate and useful data for building projects. For example, the Robotic Imaging’s DRONE collects data for building construction, infrastructure, real estate, and energy.

Survey robots in the retail industry

Robots have made their way into retail. They can answer simple questions, like where to find items, and they can help with inventory monitoring or missing products in a packing line.. These robots free workers from routine tasks, presumably giving humans more time for customer interaction, but that’s just the beginning.

These detailed data obtained through computer vision are incredibly valuable in retail, where understanding and anticipating consumer demand is essential.

According to Forrester Research, “empty shelves cost retailers 4% of their revenue globally each year – so an automated process that can alert staff to these issues efficiently could make a real impact on the top line. The robots will do routine tasks, freeing humans to do high-value tasks, such as customer service. Employees could spend more time interacting with customers instead of searching the store shelves for items, ideally boosting sales.

If we think about what kind of uses these robots could have, we could imagine these robots in other areas, such as manufacturing, logistics, and delivery—with more than a thousand different ways to implement them in our day-to-day lives to optimise our time.

The robotics industry around the world keeps innovating, combining artificial intelligence, computer vision and other sensory technologies, according to Analytics Insight magazine. The magazine noted that newer iterations of robots are easier to set up and program than their predecessors. Some notable developments in 2021 include high-tech ocean robots that explore the world beneath the waves; a robot named Ocean One that’s a humanoid underwater robot dexterous enough to handle archaeological artefacts and employ force sensors to replicate a sense of touch for its pilot; and a therapeutic AI robot to help people suffering from stress, anxiety, or a health problem, such as helping doctors treat deafness through image analysis tools to diagnose and more efficiently plan the implantation of an advanced hearing aid implant.

The basis of these robots is an AI computer like the one we have at BARO. The LITA™ Carrier Board can be used to make a survey robot, as it was designed to develop mobile robots with AI and computer vision capabilities and is compatible with the last version of NVIDIA Jetson processors. Our boards help you go quickly from an idea to the final product, reducing R&D time and costs.

All-in-one board for survey robot development with LITA.

Our LITA Carrier Board is the brain of a robot: it gives them life. In general, robots use different boards to be able to give them the senses required to perform certain tasks. Robots that have only one board are often limited, and sometimes developers have to sacrifice certain actions or add another board to their project. The integration of the different devices and sensors can become a real nightmare.

To solve this, our board was designed so that you only need one single board to optimize the space inside your robot and have all the functions you need in a single device.

LITA has CAN-FD to control the actuators and four camera connectors compatible with the Raspberry Pi module v2 and Veye 3.27, which in turn can also work with LIDAR to give it that “sense of sight.” Likewise, the NVIDIA Jetson processor has drivers that could make it compatible with different cameras.

See cameras compatible with Jetson here:

If the robot needs to use lights and sounds to signal when it is going to change direction or if it is facing an obstacle, it can take advantage of the audio recognition system that our board has. Although not yet finalized, LITA will be able to run a motor with a USB connection; we expect this feature to be available starting in February.

While most boards have GPS with a single IMU, our board has two IMUs, one integrated into the GPS and the other on the board for greater precision.

BARO offers customization services for the LITA Carrier Board and is currently developing the LITA BASLER. The Basler camera is designed for computer vision applications that require high definition or more precision, such as autonomous cars, since they have great resolution and a capture speed much faster than other cameras, with applications from capturing every move at football stadiums to robots used in surgery, etc. Our new version has a BASLER camera connector, a WIFI connection and USB-C.

Virtual reality, surveillance, telepresence, surface recognition—it’s clear survey robots will play a major role in the future. Currently, hundreds of projects around the planet are shaping tomorrow’s landscape, and BARO will be there with our LITA AI Computer. Robotics is a multi-disciplinary exercise, and with our engineering services, we will be collaborating in the development of these projects based on NVIDIA Jetson processors. Our team of experts are here to help you in the process and we’re excited to be a part of it.

Dream It and Build It!

Cielo Gonzalez & Alen Johnson.