My primary project, "SECOM Robot X" is an outdoor mobile robot. As a mobile robot, safety while moving is paramount. During the initial stage of the development, I was responsible for the mobile control algorithm. I worked on improving and implementing many functions such stability while traveling at high-speed and turning, docking precision during automatic battery charger docking, and the accuracy in estimating the robot's position.
To function as a robot, recognizing the environment, decision making, and making precise movements are all intertwined closely and are required to function both accurately and quickly. "SECOM Robot X" patrols and detects suspicious objects and persons in places which are too dangerous for humans to enter, or where fixed cameras and sensors cannot be used for detection due to blind spots. Thus, I labored to find efficient ways to implement the required high-speed stability and precise position estimation.
Day and night
I spent most of my time thinking about the entire system, software modifications, trials... When a good idea came to mind, I immediately took notes, even when commuting on the bus or train. Although this may sound stressful, I actually enjoyed those days. In addition, my research resulted in new patentable ideas. I am certain that that period gave me many new ideas.
Currently, "SECOM Robot X" is commercially available and can be seen patrolling customer sites day and night. To satisfy new demands and respond to customer feedback, I am improving the underlying software, as well as the control algorithms which I am responsible for.
Feedback from society motivates me.
"SECOM Robot X" is shown at many exhibitions and events all over Japan, requiring me to travel extensively. Initially, I was worried whether the public would accept such a robot. However, people who saw the robot were very enthusiastic, which increased my enthusiasm while explaining the various functions of the robot. In addition, the customers to whom we have introduced the robot appreciated it, not only as an improvement to the efficiency of their security solution, but also as a source of advertising.
Public feedback gives me many opportunities to hear how customers think about the products which I helped develop, and gives further motivation in developing the next product.
In the future, I would like to design and work on the next generation robots with newer functions.