Autonomous prototype developed for a Southeast Asian energy group

September 11, 2019

Highlights:

  • New prototype: an autonomous 6DOF arm mounted on an autonomous mobile platform.
  • Prototype is designed for inspection and manipulation tasks.
  • Client: a Southeast Asian utility with nearly $6 billion in revenue.
  • The autonomous platform has already been deployed at a car parts retailer, a FMCG leader, a consumer-products distributor, and a global logistics leader.

Gideon Brothers presented a new autonomous mobile robot prototype for a Southeast Asian client, an energy group with annual revenue exceeding 5.8 billion USD. The prototype features an autonomous 6DOF arm mounted on Gideon Brothers’ fully autonomous robot platform. The arm is equipped with a camera and a three-pronged end effector that has been developed for inspection and manipulation tasks in energy facilities.

The new prototype was developed in just four months and has been validated in a laboratory environment, successfully executing its tasks in a demonstration for 20 members of the Board of Directors and Management Board of the Southeast Asian delegation.

Autonomy for an oil and gas production client

The prototype uses Gideon Brothers’ Advanced Visual Perception to autonomously navigate between points of interest (PoI), such as analog gauges and valves. Once the robot reaches the approximate position for the PoI, the arm uses its mounted camera to explore its surroundings and pin-point the exact location of the PoI.

The new prototype integrated a variation on Gideons’ autonomous mobile robot with a robot manipulator produced by Aubo Robots. Gideon engineers expanded the arm’s capabilities to include visual perception and the aforementioned end effector which acts as a tool for turning the gauges. Both the robot platform and arm needed to localize and navigate autonomously – integrating the systems presented a challenge. Additionally, Gideon Brothers needed to develop several special algorithms which allow the robot to perform its inspections, including algorithms to detect and read analog gauges and to find and deal with pressure leaks in the line by opening or closing relevant valves.

The demonstration included simulated pressure leaks to which the robot needed to respond autonomously – and did. In his presentation, Dr. Kočo highlighted several areas of potential expansion for the next iteration of the prototype.

 

Dr. Edin Kočo, project lead and Gideon Brothers’ Head of Hardware Development, had this to say:

“This was a fun project with a very engaged client. In the end, we were able to provide them with a working prototype within an extremely tight time-frame. We have work ahead of us to bridge the performance that we achieved in the laboratory with a real environment but those are problems that we can definitely solve”

Dr. Kočo has a Phd in Robotic System Design from the University of Zagreb’s esteemed engineering and computer science department (FER). He leads a team of 16 robotic, embedded systems, and mechanical design engineers. He is one of Gideon Brothers’ five Co-Founders.

The Southeast Asian client is a petroleum, crude, natural gas, condensate, liquified petroleum gas [LPG] exploration and production company with nearly 4,000 employees. They are part of a larger state-owned group with 55.5 billion USD in revenue.  The utility was referred to Gideon Brothers via the Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce in Croatia, where Tomislav Ćorluka is President:

“We were approached by the company to scout local partners for the development of technology applicable to their operations. We presented several Croatian companies to them – Gideon Brothers stood out and the client is very happy with them.”

Gideon Brothers is a Croatian robotics and AI start-up founded in 2017. The company received several international and Croatian awards, including the prestigious AI Rising Stars award at the 12th annual Founders Forum in London. In 2018, investors from Croatia and abroad invested a total of 16.3 million kuna (€2.2 million, US$2.5 million). The company’s 62-person team includes 9 PhDs and 38 Masters of robotics hardware and AI software. In December, Gideon Brothers unveiled its first commercial product, an autonomous logistics robot that is now being deployed at Tokić, Atlantic Grupa and Orbico.

 

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