Toyota’s Partner Robot program gave rise to the research and development of the Delivery Robot, a prototype designed to retrieve items for people with limited mobility (bedridden patients, for example) similar to a nursing dog. The Delivery Robot could also be used to open doors, take out trash, return food trays, and (supposing the person was really bored) play fetch. The robot uses speech recognition to take commands as well as speech synthesis to ask questions to narrow down the desired object’s location.
Using a laser range finder and particle filter to generate maps and self-localize, the Delivery Robot navigates its environment in real-time. Additionally, it has stereo cameras in its head which it uses to locate objects of interest which it can then pick up with its one arm and end effector. Its arm is also compliant to outside forces to prevent injuring bystanders.
While it is unclear if Toyota is still working on this particular robot, its core technology has been transferred to their guide robot TPR-Robina. Toyota’s partnership with Tokyo University’s IRT Laboratory suggests that the Delivery Robot was likely replaced by IRT’s AR (Assistant Robot). A robot with similar capabilities to the Delivery Robot is being developed at Georgia Tech’s Healthcare Robotics Lab.