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Toppan develops AI system enabling multiple robots to recognize people

Toppan, a technology company specializing in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, has developed TransBots, a digital twin solution for linking physical spaces with virtual reality reconstructions in real time and centrally managing and controlling multiple types of service robots.

As a new function, Toppan has now developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that makes it possible for multiple moving robots to identify people whose images have been uploaded in advance.

This person recognition function has been verified via a pilot test in which images sent from robots in various locations within an event space were analyzed and compiled in the cloud using an AI engine.

It was possible to identify specific people from camera images sent by various types of robots and to perform cloud-based confirmation. The test also demonstrated that people’s locations could be pinpointed by using the positions of the robots on TransBots.

Toppan aims to contribute to a fulfilling and sustainable society by employing TransBots and other solutions driving the application of digital twins in diverse fields, such as security, customer analysis, guidance, transportation, and cleaning.

Going forward, Toppan intends to help alleviate labor shortages and transform work styles by strengthening collaboration with robot manufacturers, enhancing the multifunction console for service robots and TransBots™, and enabling multiple use cases.

An ageing society and declining birthrate in Japan are contributing to labor shortages, which are becoming severe in security, cleaning, and other areas of the facility management industry.

Robots and IT are seen as part of the solution, and robots specialized for tasks such as reception work and cleaning are being introduced. Robot management, however, is complex because multiple different types need to be controlled.

Security cameras and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices are employed for the management of buildings such as hospitals and complexes as well as for managing admission to exhibitions and concerts.

But limitations on the scope that can be monitored by people and security cameras mean that robots are expected to play a larger role in the future.

Toppan’s TransBots is a digital twin solution for centralized management and control of multiple types of robots. Operators can use a multifunction console to configure courses for robots’ movement in a virtual space. Robots in the real space then move in accordance with the courses to arrive safely at their preset destinations.

Robots can also pinpoint their own current position, detect obstacles, and speak to ensure the safety of people nearby. The use of the virtual space for setting courses and controlling robots means that the tasks can be performed remotely.

Toppan has now added an AI-driven person recognition function to the TransBots console. When people who have been preregistered on the system enter a physical space, multiple moving robots are able to recognize them.

This is expected to have various applications, including remote management of hospitals and complexes and management of large-scale events with restricted entry, such as exhibitions and concerts.

In addition to telepresence robots, TransBots can also be applied for a wide range of service robots, such as robot carriers and mobile picking robots.

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