Hivebotics: How Hivebotics Accelerated Product Development with MoveIt Pro

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SITUATION

Hivebotics is an emerging pioneer of industrial bathroom cleaning robotic platforms. Based out of Singapore, their team is pushing the boundaries of automation with robots capable of navigating dynamic environments and performing complex tasks in tight spaces. Their first robotics product, Abluo, is a commercial-grade mobile manipulator that seeks to automate dangerous, dirty and demeaning tasks, starting with cleaning public restrooms at airports in Asia and Europe instead. Hivebotics is already demonstrating functional prototypes and completing multiple on-site tests through December 2024 ahead of delivering the first production units in 2025.

PROBLEM

Hivebotics approached PickNik for support in bringing their new Abluo system to market quickly due to a customer who is excited to pilot this technology. After proving feasibility with an initial prototype, Hivebotics recognized the need for more robust software that was dependable enough to be deployed at scale.

As is common in robotics, Hivebotics faced challenges with the complexities of planning consistent and intuitive motions. Inconsistent placement of the robot’s mobile base in bathroom stalls further complicated cleaning processes. Overcoming these hurdles was critical to productionizing their operations and required deep robotics expertise, advanced development tools, and significant simulation testing to ensure readiness for commercial deployment.

Enter PickNik and our motion planning and runtime development platform, MoveIt Pro.

SOLUTION

PickNik leveraged MoveIt Pro to provide Hivebotics with a comprehensive solution that directly addressed the challenges of developing Abluo, their autonomous cleaning robot. Our experts customized MoveIt Pro’s advanced motion planning capabilities to suit the unique spatial constraints of Abluo’s operational environments. This customization involved optimizing MoveIt Pro’s built-in robotic arm path planning software to ensure reliable, safe, and efficient maneuvering within confined spaces.

Furthermore, PickNik implemented autonomous navigation software that dramatically improved Abluo’s mobility. By enhancing the robot’s ability to navigate complex and dynamic environments, Hivebotics could ensure that Abluo maintained consistent performance across various restroom layouts, thus addressing the initial problem of inconsistent mobile base navigation.

In addition to these software advancements, PickNik created highly detailed, real-time simulations of Abluo’s operations. These simulations allowed Hivebotics to test and refine robot behaviors in a controlled virtual environment before deploying them in physical prototypes. This step was crucial in accelerating the development timeline and mitigating risks associated with direct implementation in real-world settings.

OUTCOME

The collaboration between PickNik Robotics and Hivebotics exemplifies how strategic partnerships armed with powerful tools can overcome substantial challenges in robotics. Rishab Patwari, CEO of Hivebotics, expressed his enthusiasm about the award: “Partnering with PickNik was a strategic decision that brought not only advanced technology but also a team of dedicated experts into our development process. Their contributions allowed us to overcome significant technical challenges and accelerated our path to market with confidence.”

Using the many off-the-shelf behaviors and capabilities of MoveIt Pro, PickNik’s in-house robotics experts were able to greatly shorten development time of the innovative Abluo platform. After only a few months of teaming, Hivebotics was not only able to meet its immediate milestones but also positioned itself for sustained growth and innovation. This is an especially impressive feat considering projects of this magnitude generally take more than a year to complete. To date, the project saved an estimated 10 months of product development & testing time.

At PickNik Robotics, we are committed to supporting our partners through their journey of bringing revolutionary robotics solutions to market, ensuring they are well-equipped to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.