INTUITIV – the interacting transport robot

"Intuitive-non-verbal and informative-verbal robot-human communication" - this is the objective of the INTUITIV project started in mid-2018, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in which ek robotics is participating and acting as the joint coordinator. Together with the project partners, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) GmbH, GESTALT Robotics GmbH and HFC Human-Factors-Consult GmbH, ek robotics is developing an assistance robot to support nursing staff in the rehabilitation sector.


The project focuses on investigations into the approach dynamics, avoidance strategies and travel path of an autonomous robot in a care facility. The transport robot should be characterised by fluid, natural movement behaviour as well as driving movements in all directions and interact with people via a movable touch screen as well as speech recognition. The assistance robot will, for example, transport luggage and goods, guide patients from the reception to their rooms and interactively guide them through the clinic.

ek robotics is responsible for the development of the transport platform. "Its technology is based on the further development of the FAST MOVE, our ultra-flat and compact transport robot. It is small, flexible and extremely manoeuvrable, requires no manoeuvring space and with its stepless and low-maintenance drive concept, the performance of any movement in the area is possible. For the project, it will be enhanced with 360° 3D recognition, among other things. With this, we want to enable its safe movement in dynamic environments, e.g. by automatically avoiding people and obstacles," describes Karsten Bohlmann, Head of Research & Development at ek robotics.

As the collaborative coordinator of the INTUITIV project, ek robotics is driving the next stage of transport robotics. Those involved expect that there will be a great demand for such assistance robots in the future. And so the transport robotics specialist sees itself as having its finger on the pulse with this project. Current research projects of the company mark the path from automated guided vehicles to intelligent transport robots with special capabilities. For the smart, automated production of the future, transport robots are needed that have capabilities such as autonomous driving planning and person recognition, are capable of learning and can "think for themselves". The path leads from already realised projects such as 3D recognition for intelligent transport robots to the development of cobots, lightweight robotics for industry, to flexible, autonomous assistance robots with which communication is possible.