ViaBot, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is conducting pilot tests for robots used in enterprises.
In 2016, Gregg Ratanaphanyarat and Dawei Ding dropped out of Penn State University and founded an outdoor cleaning robot startup.
Now, this gamble seems to be paying off . The two-person start-up company ViaBot is conducting a pilot cooperation with a large company to use robots to clean a parking lot in the Bay Area. This work is currently progressing smoothly and is expected to expand more business.
The two founders said that robotics is difficult to use for outdoor maintenance, because developers usually only focus on one area, and building managers need multiple services.
ViaBot's goal is to meet a variety of outdoor maintenance needs through modular robots.
The company’s CEO Ratanaphanyarat said: “This will make mobile robots efficient, productive, and low-cost, which was not possible with previous robots.”
Like many rookies, ViaBot uses sensors and cameras, as well as target detection algorithms and maps running on NVIDIA Jetson to process all the data needed for navigation.
Jetson provides robot developers with low-power, high-performance processing methods. Our new module can provide GPU workstation processing power for a new generation of robots and autonomous machines .
Clean, recycle, scan
Ratanaphanyarat and Ding designed a four-wheeled RUNO robot to clean, recover and scan license plates.
RUNO has multiple docking stations, charging the trash can and recycling station respectively. The robot can put itself in a collection box and run with the trash can to remove debris after recycling through the trash can.
This robot can run for up to 4 hours after a single charge and is equipped with a Jetson TX2, which can process all data from seven cameras, four sonar sensors and GPS to aid navigation.
The founder of ViaBot used the Yolo image network to run 500 images dedicated to recycling and retrained them to recognize objects. They use traditional algorithms to scan license plates.
"All sensor readings are fused with GPS to understand the location of obstacles at these points. From there we can learn where to go and the area that needs to be cleaned." Ding, CTO of ViaBot, who later graduated from Penn State University Said so.
Robot as a service
ViaBot's service has been set to operate completely autonomously. Maintenance personnel only need to empty their recycling bins and trash cans.
ViaBot provides Robot as a Service (RaaS) in the form of a monthly subscription. In addition to basic cleaning services, customers can also purchase other functions, such as recycling, scanning license plates, and even physical accessories such as lawn mowers. Each service is charged separately based on the number of robots in the facility.
The two founders also added license plate scanning in the parking lot because for them, using ViaBot to process license plate scanning is a simple computer vision task, they said. This is also an area that companies usually have to hire security contractors to manage.
The two founders said that ViaBot also brings additional benefits to customers, that is, as a good corporate citizen, you can properly collect and sort garbage.
ViaBot next plans to provide a modular mower box option for customers seeking automated lawn maintenance before the end of the year.