Visitors to the Toyota Kaikan Exhibition Hall in Japan will be greeted not by a smiling, grey-suited guide, but by Robina — a walking, talking robot on wheels that can even sign autographs should you want it.
An acronym for Robot As Intelligent Assistant, Robina is a Toyota-developed autonomous tour guide robot capable of escorting visitors around the car-manufacturing exhibition.
While following a set tour route, it is able to provide explanations of exhibits and even avoid obstacles.
The robot is able to sign autographs thanks to its jointed fingers, as well as communicate verbally and through gestures.
What is more, image recognition technology enables Robina to recognise visitors’ name tags to help it talk directly to specific visitors.
At present, the robot has a vocabulary of up to 20,000 words, and can only recognise Japanese. However, according to Toyota, further language options could potentially be developed.
Robina is a part of a family known as Partner Robots that Toyota is planning to develop.
Partners will be designed to live with and assist people in domestic duties, nursing and medical care, manu- facturing and short-distance personal transport.
The company plans to incorporate data gathered from using Robina at the exhibition to help with the development of future Partners.
The robot weighs 60kg and stands 1.2m tall.