DCZD.TECH presented at MIT Media Lab!

Last week our team was invited to speak at Symposium on Blockchain for Robotic Systems at MIT Media Lab. This symposium has brought together scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders in the robotics industry to discuss the benefits of using distributed technologies on the robotics market.

My co-founder and CEO, Aleksandr Kapitonov, gave a 30-minute keynote on Robot Economics — our vision of how robots should be integrated into human life. At DCZD.TECH we believe that money is one of the common interfaces for human communication. Therefore, we should use money as a basis for human-to-machine interactions as well.

On top of that, our economy is based on contracts. They are a legal document that state and explain a formal agreement between two different people or groups, or the agreement itself. We need to use contracts in the robotics industry as well to keep track of objectives and deliverables the robots are responsible for.

Blockchain platforms such as Ethereum has given us money for robots — cryptocurrencies, and contracts for robots — “smart contacts”. We believe that it is these economic instruments that would allow mass adoption of robotics.

I presented our paper about the use of robotic services for new paradigm smart cities based on decentralized technologies. I covered briefly the benefits of decentralized technologies when it comes to managing a large number of cyber-physical systems (robots, sensors and “smart devices”). Then I presented the projects that DCZD.TECH has already built and demonstrated.

The first project I showed was a demonstration of an autonomous taxi service in a Duckietown. The client sends a demand request to Robonomics market. The car sees it and responds with supply request specifying the deliverables. When requests match, the smart contract is created automatically and stores all the deliverables of the mission. Then the car drives to the location specified in a smart contract. This project demonstrates the basic human-to-machine contract.

The second project, Drone Inspector, demonstrated a real-world service that we built for our client — DAO IPCI. An autonomous drone with air pollution sensor on board is used to do environmental monitoring. The drone is launched from a web interface by an environmental program operator. The process of “hiring a drone” happens the same way as in the previous example. The drone then takes off and flies autonomously to the specified location to collect the data. The data is signed by the drone’s key and uploaded to the distributed file system making it impossible to manipulate the data. This service allows doing an independent environmental audit without the risk of fraud.

Finally, the last case demonstrates Drone Patrol wildfire monitoring service that we built together with emergency services. We used just one drone with a smoke sensor and a camera in the demonstration but it is possible to organize a mesh network of drones that could cover a vast forestry area. During the test flight, we were able to reduce the response time from 1 hour to 15 minutes compared to traditional wildfire spotting methods.

Conclusion

Attending the Symposium on Blockchain for Robotic Systems has given us the necessary perspective and helped us understand the position of our products on the robotics market. This was a valuable experience which we are putting into practice straightaway. And the fact that we were able to meet the advanced and innovative teams from all over the world that work on the same problems has validated the relevance of our research and development efforts!