Seegrid Robotic Industrial Trucks Profiled in The Techburgher
Pittsburgh, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/07/2013 -- According to Tom Imerito, Science Communications, Pittsburgh’s leadership in artificial intelligence is spawning the technologies of tomorrow. Posted by Jonathan Kersting in Techburgher, Seegrid is bringing artificial intelligence to the marketplace with its robotic industrial trucks. The TECHburgher is a blog about technology (“tech”) and Pittsburgh (“burgher”).
The article describes passing through the double doors to Seegrid’s manufacturing floor a driverless robotic pallet jack that was headed toward me stopped abruptly. A horizontal bank of orange LEDs blinking above a row of steadily lit green ones at the top of its control module gave me the impression that the eight-foot mechanical giant was thinking – which it was – but not about me. My host, Seegrid’s Director of Research and Development of Controls and Capabilities, Dr. Darrin Bentivegna, told me that the machine was going through a pre-shipment burn-in. I had coincidentally entered the room just as “Jack,” (as I came to anthropomorphize the robotic Titan) was pausing in response to a command in his memory.
Training Jack was as easy as grasping his control handle and leading him around a corner, stopping to drop of a pallet, sounding his horn and returning to the starting point. As I walked ahead of him, the four pairs of stereographic cameras mounted beneath his LEDs captured hundreds of images of the surrounding environment. As we walked, Jack’s onboard processor converted the images into digital maps which he would retrieve from his memory and compare with the images he collected on his next trip along the newly navigated course.
When we finished the training run I sent Jack off on his own. He retraced the course perfectly, gathering new image maps as he went and comparing them with the ones he had saved during our training run. In response to differences in the maps he continuously corrected his course while creating new maps of his surroundings for use on his next trip.
Jack’s comparison of the maps in his memory to the maps he sees at any given moment and his consequent course-correction is emblematic of artificial intelligence (AI). Although the differences between the way machines and humans think are vast, it is convenient to think about artificial intelligence as machines learning in a step-wise fashion by – 1) acquiring data by either sensing or searching; 2) comparing the data to find the most likely solution to a problem; 3) deciding on the best course of action (including providing an answer, changing the formula or algorithm being used to solve the problem, looking somewhere else or starting all over and trying something else). Although such a tedious way of thinking about everything we do would likely drive most human minds crazy, computers are so much faster than we humans they can do tedious tasks over and over again without a blink of their a digital-camera eyes. Jack is the embodiment of the vision of Seegrid founder and world renowned roboticist, Hans Moravec who, in his 1988 book, Mind Children, envisioned a future world in which intelligent machines perform the mundane tasks of civilized life.
Founded in 2003, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seegrid Corporation (http://www.Seegrid.com) brings robotic vision-guided technology to the material handling industry. With more than thirty years of innovation and research by leading robotic scientists, engineers, programmers and logistics practitioners worldwide, Seegrid’s exclusive Robotic Industrial Trucks are revolutionizing the movement of materials in manufacturing and distribution environments. Seegrid’s technology transforms industrial vehicles into unmanned, automated pallet trucks and tow tractors that operate without the need for wire, tape, laser, magnet or other costly automated guided vehicle (AGV) guidance systems. Seegrid offers solutions that optimize workflow processes by increasing productivity and reducing costs, creating economic and operational advantages.