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Meet Plato, a ‘CobiotX’ Robot Designed for Service Tasks

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November 1, 2022

United Robotics Group, a German-based robotics manufacturer, has announced the launch of a new mobile service robot, Plato, that it calls a “CobiotX” with the goal of better human-robot collaboration. The company said the principal around CobiotX solutions should remain focused on humans.

“The first generation of robots, classic, large industrial robots, were programmed to work independently from humans,” said Thomas Hahn, founder of United Robotics Group. “With the second generation, small, lightweight cobots, collaboration with humans was possible. With CobiotX, we are completely revolutionizing the way humans interact with robots, allowing humans to focus on highly valued interaction while ensuring a safe environment.”

The company said the term “CobiotX” combines the concepts of collaboration (Co); life, emotion and sustainability (bio); technology, automation and efficiency (bot); connection, exchange and perception (iot); and diversity, versatility and “eXperience” (X).

The Plato robot will make its debut at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Show in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 2-3, and at the French hospitality show, Equiphotel, on Nov. 7. Plato is an autonomous mobile platform designed to support service workers in several daily tasks, including the delivery of food and drinks, and bussing tables and responding to unexpected situations and obstacles to ensure safe movement when surrounded by human traffic. The company said Plato combines the functions of industrial and social robots through its human-robot interface, as well as interactivity and expressivity from humanoid robots such as Papper and NAO.

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“Plato was inspired by smartphones designed for humans, instead of power-hungry, difficult to update PC-based hardware,” said Xavier Lacherade, managing director of Aldebaran Robots, part of the United Robotics Group. “The architecture used in the development of Plato’s ‘neural engine’ is designed for seamless updates adapting to fast-changing environments. A complete setup can be done without any technical knowledge in less than one hour simply by pushing the cobiot manually or remotely configuring it on a tablet, and modifications can be applied with ease.”

Features such as a hands-free Bluetooth command microphone allow service workers to support parallel tasks. Plato is compliant with the widely accepted European Machine Directive 2006/42/EC, which aims at the free circulation of robots in an uncontrolled and changing environment and at the protection of service workers and consumers.

As part of the launch of Plato, the company opened a North American subsidiary in Los Angeles, called United Robotics Group Americas, which will be headed by CEO Corwin Carson. Eight companies have merged under the United Robotics Group umbrella to bring products, services, software and integration solutions to clients. The company said the American division will offer CobiotX solutions both for purchase and through robots-as-a-service pricing models. Companies in the group include Aldebaran (SoftBank Robotics Europe), Rethink Robotics, Entrance, Geenial, Humanizing Technologies, RobShare, Dahl Robotics, and RobSolutions.

“Unprecedented labor market challenges are creating a strong tailwind for the adoption of robotics and automation beyond traditional industries like manufacturing and logistics, creating a massive expansion opportunity in the market,” said Carson. “One example is the hospitality industry, where 500,000 jobs go unfilled each month. “We will be in a unique position to provide North American businesses direct access to innovative global technology to help address these challenges.”

For more information about Plato and the United Robotics Group, visit its website here.

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