Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), the Boston-based robotics company and a leader in smart following technology, announced that the company has been awarded patent number 11,112,807 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

The patent, titled “METHOD FOR DETERMINING SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE BEHAVIOR MODELS” adds to PFF’s robust intellectual property portfolio, and is focused on the proprietary design of robot behaviour specifications. PFF develops self-driving machine software and hardware for use in dynamic and unmapped built environments. The company combines in-depth knowledge of the outdoor and indoor built environment with a unique library of behaviours designed through millimetre accurate observation of how people move with one another through the world, from sidewalk etiquette to entering and exiting buildings with one another and beyond. PFF holds 44 patents ranging from wheel designs to robot designs, to behaviour models.

The patent was developed and co-authored by the members of the PFF technology and design teams. The company is at the forefront of the future of pedestrian mobility with the development of two-wheeled, non-autonomous products at the start. Some of what PFF is developing will create autonomous behaviours that complement the non-autonomous robot/device/vehicle. To accomplish this, PFF observes people, analyzes data and designs behaviours for following robots interacting with leaders and bystanders in pedestrian environments ultimately making a seamless experience between humans and robots.

PFF’s best in class following technology that pairs with a person by reliably detecting people, follows them indoors and outdoors using a fused sensor array using RGB and stereo depth mapping cameras and 4D radar.  In 2019 the company debuted gita®, a two-wheeled cargo-carrying following robot designed with pedestrian etiquette in mind. The Gita robot uses machine vision to follow its leader and is designed to match human behaviours like walking speed, manoeuvrability, and travel distances with all interactions such as pairing, following, unpairing and parking being done with the touch of a button. Because most of the built environment is constantly changing and is unmapped, PFF focuses on these spaces and presently has robots following human leaders across the United States without the need for telepresence joystick operation. Mitchell Weiss, PFF Chief Technology Officer, commented:

“The knowledge of understanding how people move is the foundation of our mission. Piaggio Fast Forward’s approach is to understand pedestrian etiquette and design machines that share this understanding. We continuously work to better innovate in order to provide the leadership for the complex interactions between humans and machines moving together in pedestrian environments.”

PFF is a design-led company with extensive knowledge of pedestrian mobility and uses this knowledge to create innovative mobile tech solutions that move the way people move—to help people walk more, walk farther, and to allow them to do more of their everyday living on foot. Additionally, PFF recently announced an innovative sensor technology package developed for consumer and business robots as well as motorcycles and scooters.

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