Move over, drone makers. This company has created a cargo-carrying robot.
The Italian company behind the Vespa, Piaggio, has recently introduced “Gita,” a cargo robot. Designed by Boston-based internal startup Piaggio Fast Forward, its aim is to take the hassle out of lugging heavy items and doing mundane chores such as going to the grocery store.
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Gita is a blue ball-shaped robot that features two wheels, a hard shell and a number of cameras and sensors. A human wears an electronic belt to guide it, but Gita can also roll autonomously in a pre-mapped area. As Gita follows its owner and gains exposure to various environments via its cameras and sensors, it creates a 3-D map of its surroundings using SLAM technology — Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. The more areas that Gita becomes accustomed to, the better it will be able to navigate on its own.
From going to the airport to grocery shopping, Gita can not only help you transport items but also do smaller, mundane tasks. You can send Gita on missions while you focus on more pressing tasks. Gita is 26 inches in diameter and can carry up to 40 pounds, travel at 22 miles per hour and run for eight hours of continuous use.
In addition, the robot has a feature that lets it park safely outside somewhere, in the event that it’s not allowed inside a building. For security purposes, Gita has a fingerprint scanner and a code to both turn it on and open it. “Gita is also covered with cameras and sensors and always knows where it is,” Piaggio Fast Forward COO Sasha Hoffman told TechCrunch. “It’d be the dumbest thing in the world to try to steal or break into.”
Like many robots today, Gita isn’t designed to replace human labor. “The transportation and robotics industries tend to focus on optimizing tasks and displacing labor,” said Jeffrey Schnapp, CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward, in a press release. “We are developing products that augment and extend human capabilities, instead of simply seeking to replace them.”