"Robot AI platform" offers flexible robot services for existing systems and multiple devices
Tokyo, December 12, 2017
Fujitsu today announced the development of the "robot AI platform" as a service platform providing natural communication between people and robots. As a first step for this platform, Fujitsu is offering a one-year trial service of the platform in Japan with a link to "unibo," a Unirobot Corporation communication robot, as well as consulting leading to official implementation. Going forward, Fujitsu plans to successively roll out services, such as the Robot AI Platform Basic Service for Multiple Devices, which can connect to various front-end devices, including tablets, smartphones, and intercoms.
This platform offers communication technologies such as natural language conversation, facial expression recognition, voice-emotion analysis, and face recognition, as cloud services that can connect with devices such as robots. Robots connected to this platform can provide communication services via natural conversation suited to the situation and interests of individuals in a variety of settings, including customer service and elder care. By connecting this platform to existing customer systems, customers can add additional value from the use of robots to their work processes and services.
Service robots with a variety of capabilities, including communication with people, have become widespread with the advance of technologies in such areas as sensors, networks, the cloud, and AI. There are high expectations for the use of service robots as a next-generation interface, not only in corporate activities, but also in daily life.
Fujitsu, primarily through Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., has since the 1980s been working on R&D aimed at the commercialization of robots, with a special focus on human interaction technologies. The technologies and experience developed through these efforts have been used in Fujitsu Human Centric AI Zinrai, Fujitsu's AI technology. They have formed the basis for partnerships with multiple companies with proprietary technologies in the field of human interaction, and have been systematized as the "robot AI platform."
Robot AI platform
This platform can connect with a variety of devices, including communication robots, enabling natural communication between people and the devices. The features of this platform are as follows:
1. A robot platform that can be connected to existing systems
For customers considering systems using robots, Fujitsu is offering the Robot AI Platform Trial Pack for unibo, a set consisting of unibo units along with the platform, as a trial service aimed at testing the implementation of this system, which can be used for one year. Going forward, Fujitsu plans to offer the Robot AI Platform Basic Service for unibo, which will be optimized for official deployment and can also connect to customers' existing systems.
2. Voice interaction through natural conversation
With this platform, robots can actively speak to people and solicit information on their interests and status using the service robot platform technology(2) developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, and then can suggest topics suited to that context. In addition, this platform can use target-oriented voice interaction developed by iNAGO Inc. to narrow down the intent behind a person's words. Using these two conversation methods, and by automatically switching between them based on the usage scenario, this platform can hold conversations that respond to a variety of conversational patterns.
3. Facial expression recognition, voice-emotion analysis functionality, and facial recognition technology optimized for situations in business and daily life
Fujitsu has integrated voice-emotion analysis technology developed by Empath Inc. with facial expression recognition technology that can differentiate joy, anger, and sorrow, even from tiny changes in facial expression, jointly developed by Fujitsu and sMedio, Inc. In addition, with facial recognition technology jointly developed by Fujitsu and sMedio, this system can differentiate individuals even when a part of their face is hidden.
4. Deployment consulting available
As part of the launch of this service, Fujitsu has systematized the knowledge and experience it has developed over many years of robotics R&D into a consulting service. Fujitsu is supporting faster innovation for customers by helping them, when they are considering deploying robots, in setting plans, creating ideas for the use of robots, testing those ideas and evaluating their effectiveness.
Product System, Pricing and Availability
For customers considering deploying robot services, Fujitsu is making available the trial pack containing both the robot AI platform and the unibo units, as well as the consulting service supporting deployment evaluation, starting December 12. Going forward, Fujitsu plans to sequentially add services for customers aiming at full deployment and to introduce services connecting to a variety of front-end devices. Product NameRetail Price (tax excl.)Availability1Robot AI Platform Trial Pack for uniboJPY 648,000December 12, 2017unibo units2Robot AI Platform Usage ConsultingIndividual estimateDecember 12, 2017Products that will be available at later datesProduct NameAvailability1Robot AI Platform Basic Service for uniboDuring fiscal 2017unibo units2Robot AI Platform Basic Service for Multiple DevicesDuring fiscal 20173Robot AI Platform Basic Kit for uniboDuring fiscal 20174Robot AI Platform Application Development ServiceDuring fiscal 20175Robot AI Platform Application Operation ServiceDuring fiscal 2017
Fujitsu plans to expand to overseas markets from October 2018.
Total of JPY 30 billion in sales, including related solutions, by fiscal 2020
1. Connected Design, Inc.
Fujitsu is conducting a field trial with Connected Design, Inc., connecting this platform with smartphone functionality, envisioning such services as those aimed at parents raising small children.
2. Nagoya City
Fujitsu is conducting an operational trial of the added value this system provides to both employees and residents at specialized elder care homes, under the auspices of the Medical and Healthcare Manufacturing Research Association run by Nagoya City. The goal of the trial is to reduce the burden on employees, further raise the quality of care, and limit the local government's nursing insurance expenses.
3. Numazu Shinkin Bank
Numazu Shinkin Bank is conducting an operational trial of this platform to reduce the burden on branch employees and improve service for customers, using the platform to support opening ceremonies of new branches, provide customer support concierge services, and introduce information on financial products.
4. Acrodea, Inc.
Acrodea, Inc. has connected the robot AI platform to its intercoms, and is conducting trials of visitor identification and functionality to convert the content of a conversation to text.
Fujitsu has received a number of comments from companies that it has worked with to co-create the robot AI platform.
1. Comment from Taku Sakai, Representative Director, Unirobot Corporation
We are extremely happy that Fujitsu Limited has adopted unibo for its robot AI platform, and that it has launched this service after all our joint development efforts up to this point. I believe that this service from Fujitsu Limited will be an entry point for robots, providing an entirely new approach and contributing significantly to customers' businesses on the ground in a variety of situations.
2. Comment from Ron DiCarlantonio, CEO of iNAGO Inc.
Under our motto of "Making Technology Alive!", iNAGO has been developing technology with the goal of creating a world where people and computers can converse as easily as friends. I expect that this robot AI platform initiative will not only create new technology, but also new businesses and innovation in the daily lives of people, and I expect it will become an ecosystem for the creation of new communication experiences going forward.
3. Comment from Sadanori Iwamoto, President and Representative Director, sMedio, Inc.
I am extremely happy to be able to contribute to the ability to read people's feelings from their facial expressions, one of the key features of the robot AI platform, through our technology using artificial intelligence. I believe this initiative from Fujitsu Limited will contribute to the creation of new business value for customers and accelerate innovation in companies and society.
4. Comment from Takaaki Shimoji, President and Representative Director, Empath Inc.
I am extremely honored that Empath Inc.'s voice-emotion analysis AI, Empath, will be used in Fujitsu Limited's robot AI platform. I believe this initiative will open new possibilities for voice conversations with communication robots, leading to the creation of new value for companies and society.
-  Unirobot Corporation
Please note that any unibo robots provided through Unirobot Corporation’s sales channel connect with Unirobot’s own cloud only and not with Fujitsu’s robot AI platform.
-  Service robot platform technology
A robot platform that, by having the robot actively converse with a person, can learn about the person’s preferences and situation, thereby enabling the robot to guide the person to appropriate services while offering new topics of conversation. Fujitsu Scientific and Technical Journal, Vol. 53, No. 5, September 2017 :http://www.fujitsu.com/global/documents/about/resources/publications/fstj/archives/vol53-5/paper08.pdf