Service Robots are, arguably, the single most common type of robot in the Frontier, in use in businesses, offices, private homes, information booths, and any function where interaction with people is expected or required. Service robots have anthropomorphic bodies modeled after whichever race they serve. They cannot be mistaken for a living person, however. These robots are limited to levels 3 to 6.
Service robots are used as servants. They work as butlers, maids, cooks, store clerks, information sources, gardeners, tailors, facilitators, etc.
House servant service robots are commonly seen in middle and upper class homes, though some lower class homes can sometimes afford a lower-level used model.
The most ubiquitous uses in the Frontier are as receptionists and as information clerks; since movement is minimal, they are very economical to use, compared to a live person.
These robots are also used as personal assistants and are often used as nursemaids for the elderly.
Service robots use anthropomorphic bodies and are limited to levels 3 to 6. They are generally shaped like the race they are intended to serve, though specific functions and racial preferences can provide significant differences between otherwise similar models.
Service robots cannot be mistaken for living beings in most cases, either by design or by local law. If a more life-like appearance is desired, it can be achieved through either additional expense or through the use of certain types of cybernetic robots
Human-form service robots commonly have two standard arms, two legs, and walk upright. Certain models (cook bots, lab bots, etc.) are built with additional arms, but this is uncommon.
Models that are not required to move much (receptionist bots, information booth bots) may be built with a wheeled chassis resembling a seated person.
Some models are designed to wear regular clothing, but most are designed to not wear clothing at all.
Yazirian-form service bots are functionally identical to human-form service bots, though their proportions are closer to Yazirian standard and their head shape is different. Optic sensors are commonly tuned to match those of Yazirians, to better function within Yazirian living and working environments.
Wing membranes are commonly not included, though most models have mounting points for detachable (cosmetic) equivalents.
Unlike Human-form models, Yazirian-form models are commonly designed to be capable of wearing clothes, including model-specific “fur suits” that may be easily washed.
Dralasite-form “anthropomorphic” service bots are often confused with standard body type robots; commonly built with 3-4 extendable legs, and arms that are retractable into the short, stubby body (often with an extra pair or two).
Interestingly, few Dralasites actually use Dralasite-form service robots, preferring the practicality (and lower cost) of Human-form models.
Vrusk-form service robots are something of a paradox; they are some of the most advanced and life-like models available, but are generally relegated to lesser roles due to the Vrusk tradition of internship and family employment. Additionally, the physical size of a Vrusk-form robot makes it less than desirable for most applications. Because of these issues, Vrusk prefer to use Human-form bipedal chassis with Vrusk-form arm/shoulder joints and a Vrusk-like head.
Ifshnit, Humma, and Osakar do not generally make use of anthropomorphic robots in their image, using standard-body native models in these applications or importing service bots from the Frontier worlds races; either standard models or “rim race-adapted” Human-form models.
No Sathar-form anthropomorphic service robots have been encountered, though tracked combat bots resembling upright Sathar have been reported; it is unclear if these are Sathar-form anthropomorphic models.
All commercially available service robots come equipped with one pair of arms equipped with fully functional “hands” capable of doing anything a living sentient can.
Unlike Maintenance Robots, service robots are rarely equipped with the hardware needed for a particular job, commonly using equipment created for character races.
Description by Level
Service robots are limited to levels 3 to 6; this is because level 1-2 robots are incapable of meaningful interaction with sentient beings.
Level 3 service robots can do fairly complicated jobs, but are incapable of independent thought, requiring supervision. Their ability to communicate verbally and follow spoken instructions provides ample opportunity to customize programming on the fly. Of course, if the verbal instructions disagree with the robot’s programming, it will ignore the orders. Level 3 robots are often directed by a computer or Robot Brain.
Robots of this level are capable of performing highly complex tasks or many simple ones, but their decision-making capability is severely limited; for example, an information booth ‘bot in a hospital can answer any question asked regarding location of offices, departments, stairs and exits, but unless programmed for the job, is utterly incapable of answering if it is raining outside or not, even if it has a direct view of an outside window.
Examples of Level 3 Service Robots:
- A household robot that keeps the house tidy, dusts, vacuums, brings selected clothing and answers the vidphone.
- A garderobe robot that takes the coats and hats of patrons and properly returns them later.
- A gardening robot, similar to the Farming Robots on Agricultural ships and Stations, but programmed to tend to a small garden (flower or food).
- A chauffeur robot capable of navigating a pre-programmed route in a limited area.
Level 4 service robots can act semi-independently. They are much like Level 3 robots, but with superior decision-making ability, for example, an information booth robot (described above) is capable of not only giving a bus schedule, but can calculate the time to the next bus, based on having seen the previous one passing a few minutes early.
More importantly, Level 4 service bots can link to a computer via a Computer Link program, accessing the computer’s Business, Communication, Information Storage or other related program. This is the minimum level necessary for a proper receptionist robot.
Examples of Level 4 Service Robots:
- A household robot that performs basic household chores, monitors and reports light fixture/power outlet/fire detector status, dusts, cleans inside windows, buffs walls, empties trash bins (replacing the bag), empties clothes hampers, doing the laundry, then sorting, folding and putting away the clothes in the proper places, places items in designated areas (books to the library, toys to the toybox, etc.) and sorts them correctly (books to their proper shelves, toys to each child’s proper toybox, etc.). Such a robot may pick up items it has not seen before from the floor and put them in a specific place for the owner to sort, recognizing that they are not garbage to be disposed of.
- A receptionist robot that greets clients, books appointments and performs basic maintenance of the office environment (dusting the desk, opening/locking doors, reporting problems, maintaining inventory, etc.).
- A tailor robot that can mend clothing and alter clothing to fit. Also may modify clothing based on materials available, based on pre-programmed patterns.
- A robot cook capable of preparing wholesome meals from fresh ingredients (as opposed to reheating and serving prepared meals) based on pre-programmed recipes. Also may order (or go out to obtain) ingredients if necessary/possible (using the owner/user’s credit account).
- A chauffeur robot capable of navigating pre-programmed areas.
Level 5 service robots can act independently and give orders to other robots (level 6 robots can do this also).
Examples of Level 5 Service Robots:
- A household robot that can run an entire household, performing all standard chores for multiple people, cooks using fresh ingredients, substituting where needed, directs other household robots and/or household maintenance robots, drives children to school, shops on its own, taking advantage of sale prices. Performs basic maintenance (changing light bulbs, filters, etc.), light repair if needed (e.g. clogged toilet), and seeks help if it cannot complete the task.
- A secretarial robot that not only performs receptionist functions, but also assists in day-to-day functions in and out of the office.
- A chef bot capable of performing complex recipes, handling substitutions or absent ingredients and even creating new recipes based on existing inventory, as well as running a kitchen brigade of lower level cookbots.
- A protocol robot equipped with a built-in poly-vox and/or computer link to a Language computer program, to advise diplomats and businessmen in intercultural relations.
- A chauffeur robot capable of navigating new areas.
Level 6 service robots are self-programming. They can change the methods they use and even their goals to account for changing conditions. They are almost, but not quite, living machines.
Examples of Level 6 Service Robots:
- Similar to level 5 models, but capable of handling a larger area/group, or much more complex tasks.