Having conquered Russia, China, the U.S. and about a dozen other countries, Skolkovo resident company Promobot has sent its first robot to Australia, where the friendly promotional robot is currently taking part in the Commonwealth Games.
People pose for a picture with Australia's only Promobot at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Promobot.
The robot is greeting and helping visitors to the Games that are now underway in the Gold Coast, Queensland from April 4 to 15. It can keep guests informed of the latest Games news and results, tell them about related events, and help them to navigate the timetable of the Games, in which athletes from 71 countries are taking part, competing in 18 disciplines. The robot can also advise first-time visitors to the Gold Coast, located about 66 kilometres southeast of Brisbane, on where to go.
The robot was brought Down Under by the Gold Coast-based company CountaRound Pty Ltd, which purchased one Promobot to rent out for promotional purposes.
“So far, just one Promobot has flown to Australia on an important mission: to demonstrate its talent and become a regular guest at various events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Oleg Kivokurtsev, development director at Promobot, a resident of Skolkovo’s IT cluster since 2015. “He will lay the foundations of service robotics on the continent.”
David McMahon, technical director of CountaRound Pty, said that Promobot is the first autonomous service robot available to rent and buy on the Australian market. The Australian company hopes that guests of the Commonwealth Games – especially business owners and marketing managers – will note the robot’s available functions and will want to use them at their own events, he said.
Promobot robots are designed to work in crowded places to help people with navigation, answer their questions, demonstrate promotional materials and recognise people they have already met. The friendly Russian robots, which have made headlines around the world on more than one occasion for their various antics, work as administrators, promoters, hostesses and tour guides at places ranging from Russian banking giant Sberbank to the Moscow Metro.
The company recently released Promobot version 4, one of which has already found work at a museum in the company’s hometown of Perm, giving excursions and answering questions at the Russia: My History Museum about the Soviet era.
The latest Promobot has a new platform, new software, and new materials, including a lighter main body made of carbon. The moving arms have better, more reliable motors, and are now “fully-fledged mechanical arms with smooth and precise positioning,” Promobot CEO Alexei Yuzhakov told Sk.ru in an interview earlier this year.
Promobot gives end users the opportunity to set up their own business, said Olga Avryasova, executive director of the upcoming Skolkovo Robotics Forum.
“This could be by leasing out the robots, as in Australia, or it could be a more complex solution based on Promobot. At the Skolkovo Robotics Forum, two independent companies will present their solutions using the robot. Visitors to the Skolkovo Technopark on April 24 will be able to learn about them and get inspiration for their own projects,” said Avryasova.
The fact that the Russian company’s robots are actively entering international markets is an indicator that the company is developing in the right direction, says Pavel Krivozubov, head of robotics and artificial intelligence within the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster.
Last year, Promobot sent its first robots to Chile and Brazil, while this year, the company plans to open its own fully-fledged U.S. branch, according to Yuzhakov. Promobot robots are also present in countries including Kazakhstan, China, Ireland, Spain and the U.K.