Made in Zelenograd «SMP Robotics» — the robot guard on visual odometry

Made in Zelenograd
Not long ago, many mass media reported that the bots will patrol Zelenograd Sokolniki Park — there will start testing automatic observing systems, able to transmit images and video footage on the remote duty, without the help of others to focus on areas with the help of video analytics algorithms, also regirovat on the movement of objects and their behavior.


The studio Zelenograd.ru Poluboyarinov Alex, director of Zelenograd «NSR Robotics» — a designer and manufacturer of robotic guards.


— Since we have such a catchy newsworthy — start right with him. Tell of your project in Sokolniki Park. This is the first metropolitan park, which you master?


— In fact, the project start-up security bot in Sokolniki started rather spontaneously and almost everything has been heated by the mass of information. By the way, particularly with their filing and had the idea of ​​this project: the correspondent of the newspaper «Izvestia» we took the interview, and the conversation ended so — «And you do not want to put your own bot in Sokolniki park?» To which of course we said yes . Eventually, after 15 minutes correspondent calls back and says, «I agreed with the director of the park Sokolniki, that …»


— As in the joke about the wedding shuttle diplomacy and the Russian guy’s daughter Rockefeller.


— Yes, it is specifically in this series. And in fact with Sokolniki we currently negotiating. I think that as the snow falls, we will put there a couple of bots on the trial operation. There are certain bureaucratic obstacles, but we are going to meet, so yeah, maybe our bots will go there. But in general it is not globally unique project and is not the only place where our boats are currently operational testing.


— Means in Sokolniki your bots will still not in September, and later?


— Yes, closer to the first snow. Substantiated by the fact that we would be curious to test their own security bot project and our platforms for autonomous navigation. At the moment he is in the stage of pre registration — we made a certain number of platforms, each of which makes their tasks, and are now looking for places where they can be delivered, so to see how they will behave live. We also have their own ground, but on the range, manufactured with their own hands, as you can realize, will not always be completely impartial information. Because our boats except Sokolniki also go, for example, at a construction site in Sochi …


— You mean the Contest construction?


— Yes, there they are doing security functions. It’s quite a large object, one of the buildings. Still there is one project: our bot protects thermal power station, and it’s just, basically, perfect playground for us to see. After all, our task which why we made security bot? So it kind of changed physical protection. For example, there is a generic object — or hydroelectric power plant, and there is a change of guards, which generally ranges from 10 to 30 people, depending on the size of the object. Our task in relation to the protection of the bot — partly change these watchmen. They usually walk the paths and some looking around, and we say that we have a platform that can be without the help of others, without the participation of operators to move along the same paths. Installed on the platform so called servo-patrol camera which is able to build up to 360 degrees. When her sight arises person or large animal, for example, bear, gets up on his hind legs — the camera zooms on him, keeps his face and sends an alarm to the operator. Practically, we replace such makarom people-guards, and the operator, who sits in a private booth and warm drinking tea, can decide whether to send SWAT team in place or not.


— Dream least some security.


— The same operator may itself indicate the bot point where it’s supposed to move.


— How much is your boat?


— At the moment, our platform is worth about 2 million rubles, with cameras and everything else. But this figure on preproduction production. First, in January 2014 we will begin the creation of small-scale, then the price of one unit will be about 1.5 million. When we get to the release of 100 units, the price is closer to 1 million, which is just the economic justification for the introduction of our bots. Such payment Watchman on typical cogeneration or HPP costs about 900 thousand rubles a year — his snow-white wages, personal income tax, and any holiday mikropremii. Accordingly, our task — so for a year of operation of this boat pays off guard and began to make a profit enterprise. Service bot quite commonplace, it is not worth any significant funds in the project scope.


— For objects that you have listed, namely, Sokolniki, you deliver bots at their own expense, any seasoned standards? Either they get your bots?


— This is exactly the subject of negotiations. If this pilot operation — that is likely to be in Sokolniki — we’ll just put there bots send our spices and «ride» them. If they like the park, I think, in their fully applicable cost in order to drive the pair of guards and change their robots.


— Talk about the prospects of the upcoming acquisition of such bots in Moscow at the moment it makes sense or until all this is still in the distant future?


— Globally, we are preparing for the creation of something to begin to produce their standard platform, and we have projects where we realize that we can realize 10, 20, 30 bots. But here everything is wavy how they will be used for the first, second, 3rd facility security officers and responsible for the protection of any company will see the effectiveness of the introduction of these devices and, accordingly, will buy them en masse. Our task at the moment — we are preparing the establishment of the calculation to produce about 300-500 platforms per year, well and then — how it goes.


— Where will create — in Zelenograd, at its own facilities or somewhere else?


— Create bots we friendly company based in Tver. In Zelenograd is our «think tank», here we are sitting programmers, developers, circuit design, the more costly mental employees. Immediately taken by our experienced creation. A general «NSR» — a group of companies, and except for our «NSR Robotics» in it has a division that deals with electrical components division dedicated to the creation of security systems, and there is a friendly company, which is engaged in soldering microelectronics. Just at its base, we plan to keep creating.


— Sokolniki Park at the moment something is preparing to launch bots? Your boat is designed as a watchman on the more or less deserted objects such as CHP, as I understand it, and the park — it’s all the same crowded place … It does something to the terms of use of bots?


— The park is our first boat will guard the forest zone. There’s all the same is not so quite a few people as the central square. Boat will ride on forest tracks and watch that nobody fell and was frozen, no no one else attacked. But he can go completely in weight, it is not fundamentally — he was not a crush, it is completely non-hazardous.


— If only he was not crushed.


— It’s pretty heavy, weighing more than 120 kg.


— Mean, he would ride on forest roads and watch for those who were there from time to time runs?


— Yes, a way to work what we ask him his entire habitat, building a map of the area and ask this map reference points where he should stand up and start to look around. And in Sokolniki will be implemented the same scheme. In tracking camera bot detection range of man — about 80 meters at the most is not no bad weather criteria. If you set it on the imager, it is a pretty good show yourself Night — we can recognize up to 50 meters a person.


Sokolniki relatively similar projects and the main question appears in the communication channel. Boat itself for itself autonomous and does not need to provide additional channels of communication apart from the fact that it has, but the question is how to transfer the video stream and disturbing message to the operator when something happens. In Sokolniki likely will need to reach wi-fi or provide any other point of connection. Maybe it will be obvious even GPRS, so inside the bot worth our DVR «Tral», which produces security unit.


— GPRS is sufficient for video transmission?


— No, but there is such a method that the bot saves the video in good quality, and transmits it to the poor quality. Usually, this low property (with permission 320i240) quite in order for operators to realize that everything is fine, or an urgent need to go all undermined and rescue.


— A vandal resistant as your bots? I imagine for yourself how the machine goes through the park — and I think at least some of the child first have a desire to kick it or throw something at him, check it out, so to speak, on the hardness.


— In 1-x, bot body made of fiberglass, and he, by the way, is the company NPO «Fiberglass» far away from Zelenograd in Andreevka. This material is used to manufacture the fairings for missiles, so that the strength of it is quite high, and if the bot fall any thread, with him, in general, nothing happens. It was first calculated in designing housing bot.


About vandals: unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, until our legislation does not allow to set any automatic protection system, because at the bot can be attached, for example, electronic noise grenade or a pepper spray or stun gun, or even net. And if the operator sees that someone is trying to break the bot, it will push a special button reddish — and work deterrents.


— And if you try to steal it?


— It’s pretty hard. And again, on it is worth tracking camera, she sees for 80 meters, what is happening around. It is clear that the picture of the man who tries to steal it will be stored and transferred to the operator.


— I beheld in one of the comments to the announcements about Sokolniki «How the security of personal data, when someone does not choose to have it removed in the park?» Do not violate any personal territory rights?


— How do I clear the park resettled surveillance systems; in general, we wish it or not, but while moving around town have removed hundreds of cameras. Bot in this case — it is the same mobile camera that just moves without the help of others.


— Let’s look at its technical properties. You said you were going to run it in the winter — in other words it drifts overweening?


— In fact, in the snow, he might be stuck. We’re talking about driving on trails, snow depth which should not exceed 10-12 cm This is what we really got in last year’s tests — such snow bot just runs. The length of its travel — about 40 km at a temperature ≥ 10 °. Accordingly, the «5 minutes ride, 10 minutes standing and looking around,» it can operate autonomously for about 16 hours, which is a typical work shift watchman. Regarding his cross: bot can not only go along the asphalt path, and, say, the path to the roots, on the lawn, etc.. Currently we are preparing a second platform, which will be completely off-road, it will be built on the tires low pressure, and its main task is to control oil and gas pipelines, where no decent roads completely, only a primer, and those blurry. And just where the bot will pass.


— I read that you have in the chassis design has implemented a wireless battery charging.


— We are working on it — it is implemented, but prior to mass-produce it, we are not there yet. In 1-x, wireless charging quite the highest price, and for some clients do not need it if bought a fleet of 5-10 bots, it is easier to have the 1st guard who just come up and connect them to the network when their battery end and they return without the help of others to point to recharge. Wireless charging is tuned for those objects where the boat should be completely autonomous. For example, some gas-pumping station or diesel generators near communication towers. In cases when a person is hard to get there, we expect to use wireless charging, and yes, it will be economically perfectly. And for those places where all the same people next, wireless charging, maybe not so necessary.


— How does your wireless charging?


— Due to the induction voltage is applied, and there are two elements — one set, roughly speaking, on the floor or on a platform, which implements charge, and the second specifically bot appears induction, and so we have loads of Makar. This charge is in relation to the common wire is not so effective and not very rapidly charges the battery. Battery — also very principled and narrow topic. At the moment we use zhelezofosfatnye; they possess the highest capacity quite comparable with lead, and they charged faster easier, most importantly, as our bot can be read not only in terms of security implementation, and as a platform that can carry any payload. And most likely, it’s a wider market for the introduction of the bot, if just security — in other words, it is possible to fasten any marketing posters, vending machine, some geodetic sensors or sensors measure the level of fabric, or even a camera that will measure the speed of vehicles, and then we get rid of corruption on the roads.


— Yes, it would be magical. Say you are targeting some specific zabugornye analogs of bots? How is your know-how?


— We go to his method. To date, the bulk of zabugornyh counterparts — for example, a car from Google — go to recruit and PDC using lidar. LIDAR — a laser that scans the speed with frolicsome place in front of him, making a map, and based on this, takes a decision where to go. In such solutions, there are two flaws. 1st — lidar quite expensive, the price of the wrong module about 10 thousand dollars, and one that can be used in real-world benchmarks and be sure that it will not break, from 30 thousand dollars. And second drawback — when there is a dense fog, snow or rain, lidar almost gets into a concrete wall, and the movement stops. Another way of this kind of systems — a high-precision GPS. He also has shortcomings, for example, if the vehicle is involved in a tunnel or under a shade structure, or he rides through the forest, the GPS sensor can lose precision, and the bot will leave off to the side.


Base our method — the introduction of visual odometry. This is a special method that is receiving a video signal from the camera, puts certain reference points on objects in their own field of view. Let’s say we have seen a tree house, on each of these objects to urge 10, 20, 30, 50 points, and we adjust the position, based on data from the cameras. It is clear that the bot, of course, there is also an inertial frame: the sensor wheel rotation, accelerometer and compass. But this mechanical sensors, they save error. We made a mathematical model with all these sensors have brought it together and adjust the model data from the camera. So makarom our bot and can ride in a forested area, and in the criteria for snow or rain.


In general, on this particular path of development is likely to go all the autonomous navigation for, for sure, the next 5-10 years. Even easier to assemble one computer in silicon and just add back a competent video analytics, rather than taking expensive mechanical or GPS, that in case of any unexpected situation can suddenly turn off.


Plus, we use stereo vision — a method that allows to go around obstacles. Bot has two cameras, which are spaced to each other as two human eyes. Comparing Figures overlaid one on another, we can try on the depth distance of each object which is situated in front of the robot or its height. So makarom bot selects the path of motion is carried out autonomous navigation — using the entire complex camcorders, a platform that has a certain cross, and a set of sensors.


We certainly can use GPS for those situations when there is an unknown terrain and the bot need to go from point A to point B. In fact, for this kind of problems, for example, for gazonasosnyh stations, we are preparing a huge platform for low-pressure tires, and there will be implemented gyro stabilized platform, which will be assigned to the module with cameras — so makarom bot will always create a horizon line and will be able to choose the correct path of travel.


— These modifications cause severe issue — the military is not yet interested in your development? Either branch of cosmic? Say, to the moon or to Mars launch such a bot …


— With space … Quite a lot of companies operates in the navigation space, and we all occasionally read about the rover, which currently goes to Mars … Military applications of our bots can be, but as we stand purely on the commercial market . Certainly, it would be interesting to find some areas where we could provide security Russia. For example, our bot can put any radar interference or guidance station, as at the moment, as I understand it is done manually: squad is a fighter, they unfold the antenna at some point and stand beside her, smoking and t . etc. In general, you can automate this process — for the delivery of certain parts of this radar point where conducted exercises or combat actions.


— Hearing about CCTV, I always think of another company Zelenogradskaya — «ELVIS NEOTEK», which is also engaged in intellectual systems of video surveillance and security areas. You rivals, how are you different from each other?


— We have a little different markets. «ELVIS NEOTEK» as I understand, all the same stand or close to large corporate or to municipal customers; we are in the same niche commercial applications.


— Why did you start the company?


— At first we made a tracking camera, which at the moment and set on the bot. It was about 3 years ago.


— You come from MIET? In MIET intensively developing direction of robotics …


— The backbone of the company — the graduates of the Metropolitan Institute of electrical engineering, I myself — a graduate of the Department of Systems of automation, control and monitoring. About 3 years ago we did a tracking camera that sees 360 degrees and stalking people in their own sight. And we came to the customer who said, «Guys, I’ve got to where we are producing diamonds, there is a large funnel and hang the camera there we quite problematic. Could you do for us the camera, we would have established themselves where necessary? «This was the starting point for the project. At first, we did just tracking mobile camera on a tripod, we later realized that it is not very comfortable — pull the battery and install this tripod. Then we found the platform, loaded it on this camera and made it on the radio. Well, then, in fact, there was a solution — why do not we make an offline platform? At that time, this task seemed pretty obvious: what to fasten GPS, and let her here she goes. Thus was born the Macarena «NSR Robotics», we began to find designers who could create the frame began to find professionals who understand the visual odometry … At the moment we come to what the project is about to come in the series and it will probably be commercially successful enterprise.


— You start as a group of students, alumni, graduate students?


— Yes, we have so far are a group of former students have, primary age in our team — 25 years, maximum 30 years. Naturally, we constantly consult with senior colleagues, which in Zelenograd quite a lot — all the same Zelenograd city engineering and hitherto it remains produces suitable professionals. We are a young engineering company that develops bots and cherish the hope that we will continue to do it.


— About you write as a resident of Skolkovo. How do you get there?


— With Skolkovo came out pretty thin. We had spent a year living on to become a resident in them, did quite a bit of work to do … Beauty Skolkovo was that they gave grants to develop. But when we have prepared a draft, they wrote us that our project is not enough innovatorsky that the future lidar. Then somehow our interaction with them to slow down. We became a resident at the end of 2012, IT-cluster. Number in Skolkovo, but not much interact.


— No investment grants Skolkovo you have not received?


— No, it’s a shame. There is a feeling that maybe there are others doing something … As lidar — we say that is not the way of development. Micromechanics will always cost dearly, and our technology can bring all in one calculator, and autonomous navigation module will cost as much as a mobile phone. Skolkovo presently there are other residents who are engaged in video analytics and self-propelled robots, but when I was there in the past times, all I saw — this radio-controlled cars from Kinect Xbox.


— Who was your first investor, what means you are currently developing?


— We are developing on their own funds. There is division, which is developing video surveillance systems, and in the main, with an emphasis on its income, and we are developing bots. We have not received any grants or investments from the country, our design — clean our own initiative.


— And some footage you are looking for, typing? There is cooperation on this subject with MIET?


— With MIET — yes, of course. We take new students, see what they can do. We are looking for programmers and people who can cope with arising before us puzzles … On our website there is a section smprobotics.ru «Jobs», which we are constantly updating. With MIET we, of course, closely cooperate, so far the bulk of the team — it’s just MIET graduates. Quite a lot of problems we are trying to outsource to — for example, I come across on the web on the person who wrote a thesis or diploma on visual odometry find it through social networks and write: «And if you wanted to participate in the project with such particular task? «He makes his own piece of work, we have to fasten her own project, and adapts. It is cheaper than keeping people in the state, and for all that they are experts at.


— Means you have an extensive network of remote workers?


— For a variety of tasks — yes, indeed, it is. Visual odometry or stereovision we develop themselves; a frame and software, the user interface we have at the moment, most likely to give up in a row, as it is quite a large layer of work — we want to make so that the operator can communicate with the robot not only at the computer, and on the tablet .. . Two main tasks that stand before us until the end of the second quarter of 2014 — make a pretty peaceful soft and learn to produce short-run these bots in Tver.


— Also plans to become majestic in Russia have any other dreams, hopes? Motherland will not support real — not called Have you ever go as a group of developers?


I was born in this country, and I’m going to work in this country and to do so, that it has evolved, so we were not shameful for the Motherland. Why go somewhere, we’re all out.

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