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1. (WO2016065362) CUSTOMER SERVICE ROBOT AND RELATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A robot for providing customer service within a facility, comprising:

a locomotion platform;

an upper sensor for detecting objects within an upper field of view of the robot; a lower sensor for detecting objects within a lower field of view of the robot; a display; and

a robot computer in communication with the locomotion platform, the upper sensor and the lower sensor, the computer having a processor and computer-readable memory, wherein the robot computer is configured to detect the presence of a customer within the facility based on information received from at least one of the upper sensor and lower sensor, and wherein the robot computer is further configured to access at least one database storing information associated with at least one product available to the customer within the facility and to provide customer service to the customer based on the accessed information.

2. The robot of claim 1 , wherein the robot computer is further configured to receive commands from an operator at a remotely-located support station and to operate based on the received commands, and wherein the robot computer preferably is further configured to provide customer service by facilitating a two-way communication between a customer interacting with the robot in the facility and an operator at a remotely-located support station.

3. The robot of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the at least one database stores information relating to at least one of: promotional videos, product images, product descriptions; promotion priority information; promotion benefits; promotion histoiy; brand relationships; product inventory; and location of products within the facility.

4. The robot of any of claims 1 -3, wherein the robot computer is further configured to access a customer database storing information associated with customers in the facility, and wherein the information associated with customers in the facility preferably includes at least one of: purchase history information; loyalty card information; robot interaction history; and customer behavior pattern analysis.

5. The robot of any of claims 1 -4, further comprising a robot location detector for detecting the robot's location, and wherein the robot computer is further configured to generate a map of the facility based on information received from said upper sensor, lower sensor and robot location detector.

6. The robot of any of claims 1 -5, wherein the robot computer is further configured to locate a product in the facility when a customer presents the product to the upper sensor, based on a comparison of the information about the product detected by the upper sensor and product information stored in the at least one database.

7. The robot of any of claims 1-6, wherein the robot computer is further configured to attract customer attention upon detecting the presence of a customer by performing at least one of: causing the robot to move; displaying graphics on the display for attracting attention; and providing audio signals to a robot speaker for attracting attention.

8. The robot of any of claims 1 -7, wherein the robot computer is further configured to determine a customer's level of interest and need for assistance based on sensed parameters relating to the customer's state-of-mind.

9. The robot of claim 10, characterized by one or both of the following features:

(a) wherein the robot is configured to navigate away from customers determined not to be interested in receiving assistance, and to navigate to customers determined to be interested in receiving assistance and to offer assistance to the interested customers; and

(b) further comprising a microphone, wherein the robot computer is further configured to receive spoken information from a customer detected by the microphone and to process the spoken information using a speech engine, and to provide customer service based on the received spoken information.

10. The robot of any of claims 1 -9, wherein the robot computer is further configured to guide a customer to products within the facility which the customer wishes to locate by causing the robot to navigate to those products.

11. The robot of claim 10, characterized by one or both of the following features:

(a) wherein the robot navigates to the products along a path optimized based on path efficiency and location of products under promotion; and

(b) wherein the robot computer is further configured to display similar products which are within the facility if the product the customer wishes to locate is not available within the facility.

12. The robot of any of claims 1 -12, further characterized by one or more of the following features:

(a) wherein the robot is configured to assess reliability of its sensor data, including navigation and vision, and its interpretation of that data;

(b) wherein the robot is able to modify its behavior in order to maintain its own safety as well as the safety of those around it; and

(c) wherein the robot asks for help, for example, if it is unable to determine if a particular item is out of stock or if it becomes stuck or lost while locomoting.

13. A robotic system for providing customer service within a facility, comprising:

a robot having a locomotion platform, an upper sensor for detecting objects within an upper field of view of the robot, a lower sensor for detecting objects within a lower field of view of the robot, a display, and a robot computer in communication with the locomotion platform, the upper sensor and the lower sensor, the computer having a processor and computer-readable memory; and

a support station located remote to the robot, the support station having a support station camera, a support station display, and a support station computer in

communication with the support station camera and support station display, the support station computer having a processor and computer-readable memory;

wherein the robot is configured to provide customer service by facilitating a two-way communication between a customer interacting with the robot in the facility and an operator at the remotely-located support station.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the robot computer is configured to receive commands from the operator at the support station and to operate the robot based on the received commands.

15. A method of providing customer service with a robot, the method comprising: providing a robot within a facility with at least one customer, wherein the robot has a locomotion platform, an upper sensor for detecting objects within an upper field of view of the robot, a lower sensor for detecting objects within a lower field of view of the robot, a display, and a robot computer in communication with the locomotion platform, the upper sensor and the lower sensor;

detecting a presence of the at least one customer within the facility based on information received from at least one of the upper sensor and lower sensor; and

providing customer service to the at least one customer, and

optionally further comprising accessing at least one database storing information associated with at least one product available to the customer within the facility, and/or optionally further comprising facilitating a two-way communication between the at least one customer and an operator at a remotely-located support station with the robot in the facility.