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A Personal Robot as an Improvement to the Customers’ In-store Experience

  • António J. R. NevesEmail author
  • Daniel Campos
  • Fábio Duarte
  • Filipe Pereira
  • Inês Domingues
  • Joana Santos
  • João Leão
  • José Xavier
  • Luís de Matos
  • Manuel Camarneiro
  • Marcelo Penas
  • Maria Miranda
  • Ricardo Silva
  • Tiago Esteves
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 921)

Abstract

Robotics is a growing industry with applications in numerous markets, including retail, transportation, manufacturing, and even as personal assistants. Consumers have evolved to expect more from the buying experience, and retailers are looking at technology to keep consumers engaged. There are currently many interesting initiatives that explore how robots can be used in retail. In today’s highly competitive business climate, being able to attract, serve, and satisfy more customers is a key to success. A happy customer is more likely to be a loyal one, who comes back and often to the store. It is our belief that smart robots will play a significant role in physical retail in the future. One successful example is wGO, a robotic shopping assistant developed by FollowInspiration. The wGO is an autonomous and self-driven shopping cart, designed to follow people with reduced mobility in commercial environments. With the Retail Robot, the user can control the shopping cart without the need to push it. This brings numerous advantages and a higher level of comfort since the user does not need to worry about carrying the groceries or pushing the shopping cart. The wGO operates under a vision-guided approach based on user-following with no need for any external device. Its integrated architecture of control, navigation, perception, planning, and awareness is designed to enable the robot to successfully perform personal assistance while the user is shopping. This paper presents the wGOs functionalities and requirements to enable the robot to successfully perform personal assistance while the user is shopping in a safe way. It also presents the details about the robot’s behaviour, hardware and software technical characteristics. Experiments conducted in real scenarios were very encouraging and a high user satisfaction was observed. Based on these results, some conclusions and guidelines towards the future full deployment of the wGO in commercial environments are drawn.

Keywords

Robotics Retail Reduced mobility Requirements Functionalities 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the institutional supporters, including TIC RISCO, Portugal Capital Ventures, SGPS, S.A, CEiiA, Fundão City Hall. We would also like to thank to R&D entities including, Tente, CEiiA, Centimfe and Alma Design. These developments were undertaken under several EU cofunding programs, namely: QREN (projects: CENTRO-07-0201-FEDER-023962 and CENTRO-07-0202-FEDER-024692); Portugal 2020 (projects: PFOCI-01-0247-FEDER006398 and NORTE-01-0247-FEDER-011109).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • António J. R. Neves
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Daniel Campos
    • 1
  • Fábio Duarte
    • 1
  • Filipe Pereira
    • 1
  • Inês Domingues
    • 1
  • Joana Santos
    • 1
  • João Leão
    • 1
  • José Xavier
    • 1
  • Luís de Matos
    • 1
  • Manuel Camarneiro
    • 1
  • Marcelo Penas
    • 1
  • Maria Miranda
    • 1
  • Ricardo Silva
    • 1
  • Tiago Esteves
    • 1
  1. 1.FollowInspiration, S.A., MACB, Zona Industrial do FundãoFundãoPortugal
  2. 2.IEETA/DETI, University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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