With almost a decade of experience, HelpMate is a material transport service robot that works in hospitals, side‐by‐side with human co‐workers, delivering equipment and supplies to and from nursing units. Much has been written about the technology that allows HelpMate to navigate autonomously in such non‐structured environments, but little attention has been paid to the non‐technical aspects of these service applications. What special conditions exist in non‐manufacturing environments that a service robot must be able to cope with? How should a service robot be introduced into such environments? How is such a robot received by its fellow human beings? This paper shares the lessons that HelpMate has learned.
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