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ACM TechNews

As Robots Fill the Workplace, They Must Learn to Get Along

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A robot in use at the Changi General Hospital.

So many robots work at Changi General Hospital in Singapore that until recently it wasnt uncommon to find two delivery bots sitting in a hallway or outside an elevator in a standoff.

Credit: Panasonic

Singapore's Changi General Hospital is using software from Open Robotics to avoid standoffs among its robots in hallways or outside elevators.

The hospital's approximately 50 robots are from eight manufacturers, and the software enables robots from different manufacturers to communicate and negotiate safe passage around each other.

Open Robotics maintains the Robot Operating System (ROS) open-source software, but the software being used by Changi allows communication among robots not based on ROS.

The company hopes for more widespread adoption of such free, easily modified software to facilitate greater interoperability of workplace robots.

ABI Research's Rian Whitton said companies have been able to develop mobile robots more quickly thanks to ROS, and interoperability could accelerate through an open source platform.

From Wired
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