Robotized vegetable disease diagnostication

Russia’s Alfa Robotics, innovative company specializing in production, sales and lease of commercial robots including Kiki service robot with advanced verbal and nonverbal communication functions, is likely to come up with a new device intended to diagnosticate diseases of fruit and vegetables. According to the statement Vladimir Venerov, Alfa Robotics’ CEO, made at Cyber Security Forum 2018, some retail trade company is ready to place an order for such a robot.

Vladimir Venerov’s Alfa Robotics is known for its Kiki electronic lady-promoter which has been advertizing various goods at major exhibitions and fairs since November 2015. Kiki can move along preset routes, avoid obstacles, show videos on its 10″ chest display and answer questions (without resorting to standard prerecorded wordings) in Russian and English. Besides, Kiki is emotional, fancies gesticulating, making selfies, and giving hugs, that is why Kiki is often invited to attend corporate and wedding parties. As a promoter, Kiki has worked at Savings Bank and VTB-24 where the robot lady consulted visitors on the terms of deposits and availability of services and answered their questions. Kiki also presented Tesla electromotive cars and greeted guests at grand opening of a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Kiki can entertain guests at a wedding or offer a guided tour of a museum. The electronic lady-promoter may be rented for RUR 25K ($440) a day.

About a year ago Kiki was employed as an assistant in Auchan Khimki supermarket helping customers in finding the goods they needed. On its chest display buyers could see the way to the location they identified while Kiki gave voice explanations and told about promotional events and bonuses.

My advantages in this trade are I am always friendly, stress-resistant in any circumstances and never leave my job place”, Kiki says describing herself.

Some while ago Kiki was bought by a company from the UAE and on February 6 went to Dubai to work at Dubai Mall. Kiki’s assignment is greeting visitors and taking them to the departments they need, telling them about goods and services, informing on the discounts and entertaining kids.

Before making promoter robot, Alfa Robotics produced robotized self-checkout ARC 70 with an interactive voice communication, the ability to memorize and recognize faces, remember regular customers, addressing them by their names and making personal promotional offers.

Now, Alfa Robotics is undertaking a new project.

At first, our partner, a large retail chain, wanted a device capable of screening fruit and vegetables and distinguishing good from unsound. Later, while drafting a more detailed technical assignment, they decided they wanted diagnostication of vegetable diseases and checking what is inside the vegetables to see if they are damaged or infected. Initially, it was intended to make diagnosis based on photos. That requires quite different and advanced technologies”, Vladimir Venerov says.

A diagnostician robot development is still at a technical assignment finalization stage, while the customer whose name is not disclosed is yet to make up his mind if such a function is really required. When asked by Invest Foresight if Alfa Robotics is indeed capable of manufacturing diagnostician robots, Venerov was quite positive, saying that

Robots can examine human viscera. Why can’t that be done to food? Unlike Kiki, this diagnostician robot will not have human appearance. It will be a machine”.

In-built cameras make photos and robots assess the quality of vegetables by such images which are analyzed by continuously leaning neural networks. That is the process of a product quality verification.

All Alfa Robotics’ robots are open mobile platforms which allow resolving various challenges. They have open APIs which other companies can use for their own purposes. Alfa Robotics makes plans to go into automation of workflows in fastfood and hotel businesses. In this respect, Vladimir Venerov finds inspiration in Japanese hotels where everything is robotized.

By Natalia Kuznetsova

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