The concept of robot operations, or RobOps, can enable easier management of mobile robot fleets for a variety of applications. InOrbit Inc. today announced integration with Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. to bring its real-time observability, optimization, and newly launched advanced operations capabilities to Kärcher’s autonomous cleaning machines.
“Kärcher is meeting the industry need to automate in order to keep up with the demand for verifiably clean spaces,” said Marco Cardinale, vice president of floor care solutions and robotics at Kärcher. “The development of smart autonomous mobile robots like KIRA B 50 exemplifies our dedication to tackling these jobs. InOrbit is recognized as the leader in RobOps, and through this collaboration, we can jointly offer the most advanced and efficient solution to our customers.”
Winnenden, Germany-based Kärcher employs 14,400 people in 78 countries and 150 subsidiaries. The family-owned enterprise has operations in 78 countries and more than 50,000 service centers around the world. In 2021, Kärcher achieved the highest sales in its history with €3 billion ($3.2 billion U.S.).
InOrbit launches Advanced Incidents
Mountain View, Calif.-based InOrbit said its platform provides RobOps at scale. The company claimed that its cloud-based, robot-agnostic data platform enables robotics companies and enterprises to master “the four O’s” of robot operations: observability, operation, orchestration, and optimization.
InOrbit added that its system can provide secure, real-time analytics and data collection, robot performance monitoring (RPM), incident response and root-cause analysis.
“With floor scrubbers now cleaning places including warehouses, we extend those smarts to the cloud,” Florian Pestoni, co-founder and CEO of InOrbit, told Robotics 24/7.
Also today, the company launched Advanced Incidents, which use multi-parameter programmatic rules to enable the management of common autonomy exceptions and mission execution services.
“Advanced Incidents are like a programming language, following DevOps in the cloud,” explained Pestoni. “Kärcher defines its own incidents—such as if a battery level is low or an AMR is stuck. It can also create its own sophisticated rules by severity. That way, we're not trying to solve for every situation, but we can define, detect, and resolve.”
InOrbit said it extends the recently launched Configuration as Code support, a RobOps best practice. It added that its platform can ensure that any issues leading to degraded performance or service interruption can be identified, logged, and in many cases resolved through remote interventions.
Kärcher collaborates with InOrbit on KIRA B 50
Kärcher said its new Kärcher Intelligent Robotic Applications (KIRA) line includes the KIRA B 50 autonomous floor scrubber, which was built on the InOrbit platform. The joint system can monitor robot health, provide advanced incident management, and optimize for mission success, said the partners.
Kärcher said the KIRA B 50 can efficiently execute cleaning missions with limited human intervention, thus freeing up people to carry out other tasks. From getting real-time data about individual robots, to managing the overall fleet efficiency through key performance indicators (KPI) and ensuring full autonomy through advanced remote support, InOrbit said it has allowed Kärcher to focus on its unique differentiators.
Pestoni noted that his company is strongly aligned with Kärcher on the strategic value of data and a shared vision around providing cleanliness as a service.
“Kärcher has created one of the smartest cleaning robots in the world,” he said. “InOrbit extends this intelligence to the cloud, augmenting what the robots can do on their own and enabling a complete view of robot operations at scale. InOrbit is helping Kärcher clean up.”
“Cleanliness in large areas is not just a 'nice to have,'” added Pestoni. “Custodial and janitorial work suffers from low retention, but with self-emptying, a single robot can help cover a larger space, leaving people to clean other, high-contact surfaces.”
“But it's not just about robots cleaning like a person; it's about verifiable cleanliness, like the signs listing times between cleanings in public restrooms,” he said. “Incidents can be reactive and proactive, as the system gets smarter over time.”
InOrbit will host a free webinar with the Kärcher team on June 1 to discuss the future of autonomous cleaning.
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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