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Automation Amtrak might be able to borrow and adapt

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Automation Amtrak might be able to borrow and adapt
Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 18, 2021 12:52 AM

Sheraton, Los Angeles.

So the luggage carrier with potentially a voice interface could maybe replace a red cap and carry luggage to sleeping cars?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsXRfZPo3Mw

Bistro Car:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAJJbMs0tos

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 18, 2021 3:07 AM

CMStPnP
Bistro Car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAJJbMs0tos

Not sure how well this would do in a typical moving Amtrak train.  Or at higher volume...

More of a 'railroad connection' for that other button 'Sunny side'... there is a video for that, too, showing robotic cracking of those eggs on the grid...

As noted in the comments: the thing doesn't fully clean itself. I would not want to see this thing run unsupervised.  The open container of scrambled raw egg is a disaster waiting to happen on a bistro car.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:28 AM

My idea of a classy hotel does not include a bunch of ugly robotic devices roaming around the place. It's a dumb gimmick. I bet if you go back in three years the whole idea will have been scrapped; there will be negative issues with this.

Still in training.


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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:41 AM
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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:00 AM

rdamon

UT-Dallas has them for the interdepartment mail system, they rove over the expanded campus delivering the mail to the various departments in the various buildings. 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 18, 2021 10:29 AM

Overmod
Not sure how well this would do in a typical moving Amtrak train.  Or at higher volume... More of a 'railroad connection' for that other button 'Sunny side'... there is a video for that, too, showing robotic cracking of those eggs on the grid... As noted in the comments: the thing doesn't fully clean itself. I would not want to see this thing run unsupervised.  The open container of scrambled raw egg is a disaster waiting to happen on a bistro car.

I missed the part where it was not self cleaning.    Maybe they can fix that in a later upgrade.    Still I like the baggage porters for major stations.   Or they could even be used at rural stations to head out to the baggage car at train arrival.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 18, 2021 12:23 PM

CMStPnP
I missed the part where it was not self cleaning.  Maybe they can fix that in a later upgrade.

I'll defer to people like Prof. Milenkovic on this... but a robot with the degrees of freedom and programming support in that example could easily 'handle' much of the cleanup quite neatly; the system (for Amtrak) could easily be designed with simply-replaced modules or liners in the 'clean path' for quick and positive human servicing.  The 'egg mixture' could easily be provided 'safely' in a number of ways, including an analogue to 3D printing (egg-jet tech, anyone? Mischief), and of course any technology for the automated ice-cream blend-in machine (78 flavors and billions of taste combinations!!!) at the other end of the car could be adapted for the omelet fillin's.

The question is whether an industrial-quality version of this thing is less expensive to provide and then keep running in a typical Amtrak environment where even keeping toilets untrashed is a major concern.  

Still I like the baggage porters for major stations.   Or they could even be used at rural stations to head out to the baggage car at train arrival.

I do too, but the cutesie technology in that Sheraton is functionally worthless for any Amtrak purpose.  The idea of loading luggage in a hard-sided 'module' that is then intermodally picked up and taken somewhere is a reasonable thing... if you have glass-smooth or carpeted floors, diligently kept clean, with the ability to use low speed and avoid... say, being stopped by 'Amtrak Boyz' and the luggage whisked over the fence before anyone can call in the drones or whatever.

What you'd need does exist, but it would probably involve off-road wheels and suspension (or 'walking' technology that can balance high momenta effectively without overshoot) combined with something like scissors manlift capability to get the luggage to any required height and stabilize the vehicle as the baggage smashers do their thang.

And instead of putting a cheery little redcap caricature on the front with voice activation responsive to 'George', I'd design the thing with an animatronic AI version of Randolph who could teach about some of the relevant history while the stuff gets moved.

Yeah, he could double as the station agent instead of those idiot kiosks, too... although the Three Laws might not keep him safe at fully human-unattended stations...

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Posted by spsffan on Thursday, November 18, 2021 2:35 PM

Yes. UCLA is crawling with them. Amusing, but a bit dystopic. 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 18, 2021 3:30 PM

Overmod
but a robot with the degrees of freedom and programming support in that example could easily 'handle' much of the cleanup quite neatly;

So I forgot to mention they use AI so they would need to be taught or go through machine learning.     Just getting into machine learning at work so I am fairly ignorant so far but from what I have been told so far you do not program it......you have to teach it and have it make mistakes to learn from.    It does the programming internally.

Most of your government systems are moving in that direction BTW.    Timeline I am given is by 2030 most government services will be AI.    The 2030 date is my extension estimate based on what I see needs to be done.    The Feds are actually saying earlier but I will believe that when I see it.

My employer already is using robotic forklifts that drive on same pavement humans walk and so far have not run anyone down or crushed them.    They have AI and are really cool to watch them solve various problems on their own.   Like unexpected traffic, obstacles in their way, etc.  

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Posted by Gramp on Thursday, November 18, 2021 6:52 PM

Cannot warm up to this stuff. What I see is a gigantic waste of resources approaching the level of hubris.

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:00 PM

I'm almost 70.

In a hotel, I will carry my own luggage and find my own way to the bar.

At a train station or airport, I will talk to a person about how his day is going while he walks me and my luggage to the destination.  I will give him some money when he gets my stuff to the right place.

I really don't like the way we are headed, and I didn't really need to tell you my age, did I?

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:55 PM

Amen, York.

(I'm almost 72.)

Still in training.


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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:18 PM

York1
At a train station or airport, I will talk to a person about how his day is going while he walks me and my luggage to the destination.  I will give him some money when he gets my stuff to the right place.

See - The older I get (or maybe the more people I interact with), the less I want to talk to people.  

 

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 19, 2021 1:05 AM

York1
I'm almost 70. In a hotel, I will carry my own luggage and find my own way to the bar. At a train station or airport, I will talk to a person about how his day is going while he walks me and my luggage to the destination.  I will give him some money when he gets my stuff to the right place. I really don't like the way we are headed, and I didn't really need to tell you my age, did I?

Which was exactly the feelings of the older generation when Windows 3.0 hit the marketplace.......and with later versions when "clippy" the help assistant first appeared.    Folks liked their typewriters and did not see the sense of word processors or MS-WORD.......until typewriter dealers and service shops started to disappear and the younger "video game generation" started to embrace windows.

I remember back in the 1990s, EDS had to train incomming General Motors CEO (reformist) Jack Smith how to use Windows as up until that point he never had to use it until GM stated it would be part of their new Consistent Office Environment.  EDS even flew a two man install and configuration team to Jack Smith's home in Boston.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 19, 2021 7:46 AM

CMStPnP
 
York1
I'm almost 70. In a hotel, I will carry my own luggage and find my own way to the bar. At a train station or airport, I will talk to a person about how his day is going while he walks me and my luggage to the destination.  I will give him some money when he gets my stuff to the right place. I really don't like the way we are headed, and I didn't really need to tell you my age, did I? 

Which was exactly the feelings of the older generation when Windows 3.0 hit the marketplace.......and with later versions when "clippy" the help assistant first appeared.    Folks liked their typewriters and did not see the sense of word processors or MS-WORD.......until typewriter dealers and service shops started to disappear and the younger "video game generation" started to embrace windows.

I remember back in the 1990s, EDS had to train incomming General Motors CEO (reformist) Jack Smith how to use Windows as up until that point he never had to use it until GM stated it would be part of their new Consistent Office Environment.  EDS even flew a two man install and configuration team to Jack Smith's home in Boston.

Through the 1990's it was considered normal for senior management of large corporations to be technologically incompetent when it came to use of computers for their positions.

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Posted by Enzoamps on Monday, November 22, 2021 3:27 AM

Auto baggage handlers?  For rural stations?  My experiemnce on the Capital Limited is that the rural stations do not even have baggage service.  I can check bags at Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburg, DC. but not ELyria.  And if it is left outdoors at an unmanned station, I'd suspect it would be stolen by tomorrrow.

Redcaps?  WHen I take the Capital to Washington and then transfer to a NEC train up to Trenton, I flagged me down a redcap to help with our luggage to the terminal from the Capital.  Where you folks headed?  Trenton.  Oh, then why don't you sit here in this anteroom, (the room you walk through from waiting room to tracks) And I will come tell you when your train is boarding.  Sounded good to me, the waaiting room in the terminal is packed and the cattle call at boarding time is crazy.   Then I asked if there was an elevator in Trenton, assured me there was.  As we went to board the NEC train, he arrived propmtly to take us to the train (he remembered us)  and when we got trackside he said "This is the car you want, at Trenton it will be right next to the elevator."  Now that was worth at least the five bucks I handed him.  And try to get all that from a kitschy little robot.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 22, 2021 7:57 AM

The working premise of the 'unattended robots' is to assist 'Americans with disabilities' board and leave trains easily, with their luggage.  That is not quite the same as just handling heavy pieces, bicycles, etc. out of special accommodation... although since the equipment can deal with that for near-zero additional marginal cost, why not offer checked baggage at all stations within limits?

There are limits to what the train staff can do to assist disabled passengers.  Giving those passengers, in effect, the autonomy to command their own robot assistance... free... should be valuable.

Note that a robot could easily arrange to stow pallets of luggage in a reasonably secure CA shed, monitored appropriately; the cost and maintenance being relatively low.

While this won't replace true Red Caps, I wonder how many people choose to make a career and a living wage out of that nowadays.  This in parallel with whether modern cohorts from late boomers on care to tip fairly for 'experience' received, rather than use carts they can obtain or rent and then turn in to a rack...

Might be some surprising amount of interaction between the passengers and 'robotic equipment' with the right kinds of 'HMI' and programming.  Remember that the robot can call a remote agent to help interact as needed -- including for advice or a range of appropriate 'concierge' service, including some interesting 'joint-venture' possibilities for value-added.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 22, 2021 9:17 AM

.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, November 22, 2021 4:14 PM

Overmod

The working premise of the 'unattended robots' is to assist 'Americans with disabilities' board and leave trains easily, with their luggage.  That is not quite the same as just handling heavy pieces, bicycles, etc. out of special accommodation... although since the equipment can deal with that for near-zero additional marginal cost, why not offer checked baggage at all stations within limits?

There are limits to what the train staff can do to assist disabled passengers.  Giving those passengers, in effect, the autonomy to command their own robot assistance... free... should be valuable.

Note that a robot could easily arrange to stow pallets of luggage in a reasonably secure CA shed, monitored appropriately; the cost and maintenance being relatively low.

While this won't replace true Red Caps, I wonder how many people choose to make a career and a living wage out of that nowadays.  This in parallel with whether modern cohorts from late boomers on care to tip fairly for 'experience' received, rather than use carts they can obtain or rent and then turn in to a rack...

Might be some surprising amount of interaction between the passengers and 'robotic equipment' with the right kinds of 'HMI' and programming.  Remember that the robot can call a remote agent to help interact as needed -- including for advice or a range of appropriate 'concierge' service, including some interesting 'joint-venture' possibilities for value-added.

 

Good ideas, regardless of the cold water throwers.

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Posted by York1 on Monday, November 22, 2021 4:23 PM

I wonder how much the hotel paid for this system, just so they could brag about having it.

Is the amount actually going to translate into any kind of savings?  If the hotel had hired a bellboy, would this system really save money?  In how many years?

How about having the robot lead me to the bar?   Maybe a sign would have done the same thing for a little cheaper.  I guess they could modify this system at the bar to carry a very drunk patron back to their room.  It might be fun to see the robot dump the customer into his bed.

I'm a doubter.  I would have stuck with horses.

 

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

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Posted by Enzoamps on Monday, November 22, 2021 4:45 PM

How would it work.  ELyria as an example.

That is the station.   I guess we could add a small shed for the robot to reside in, it could open automatically to set it free when trains arrive.  IN larger terminals like Toledo, you check your bags with the agents in the terminal.  WHo would do this?  Would the robot have a kiosk attachment?  WOuld the robot load items up into the baggage car?  In Toldeo there are ground personnel to handle that.  The Capital and the Lake Shore Limited pass through there in the middle of the night.

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