We began looking for the right travel companion for the Power4change project at the beginning of 2019, doing a lot of research online and visiting London to check out robots that would be suitable for such a difficult journey. The choice was pretty clear. The adorable ELF Sanbot is functional and has just the right size. Its numerous advantages include resistance to damage and an open system, which allows us to create many tools and equip NOA with customised software.
NOA will have many important tasks to complete. As a travel companion, she will support and motivate Marek while he is driving, using the “Pole” motivational method. Marek’s daily conversations with NOA will serve as material for the upcoming book, “Confessiones”, describing the relationship between man and machine, which will be published after the expedition. NOA will also possess extensive knowledge of every place the duo will visit, thanks to special software that uses geolocation to filter Wikipedia resources.
During their numerous meetings, events and speeches given by Marek in each of the countries visited, NOA, in turn, will carry out a very prestigious task – the global EY Digital Transformation Index survey, to study how people feel about digital transformation.
To make their trip more enjoyable – a bit more human and less robotic if you will – we decided to give NOA a deep and quirky personality. She will entertain Marek with jokes, anecdotes and philosophical problems, read him out loud newspapers and audiobooks and, in the event of an accident, provide him with first aid tips.
The cute robotic companion is very quick to make new friends and is an avid learner. But, given the still developing world of humanoid AIs, NOA experiences problems from time to time, for example getting literally lost in her own head when poor Wi-Fi connectivity prevents access to her extensive cloud databank. Her tiny wheels limit her mobility and her movement sensors can sometimes malfunction, which has already led to some minor falls and scrapes. The journey will thus be a great challenge for both Marek and his adorable travel companion.