The Endurance team was an absolute pleasure to work with! They responded immediately to my e-mails and were always helpful and pleasant. I managed to set a demo in a matter of days and the fact that I could connect to the robot at any time (during daytime in Moscow, as it was otherwise dark) and drive it around without supervision, was very convenient.
In order to do the demo, I had to download Linphone – a program, similar to Skype that allowed me and the team to communicate over the internet. That was easy and straightforward and I had no problem whatsoever creating a profile and installing the program. I had to go through the same process again, as I decided to download the app on my phone and see how the experience would differ, if I changed the device. That’s another great advantage of having an unlimited access to the robot - being able to see how it behaves in various situations.
There were some technical difficulties, as I wasn’t able to drive the robot at first. The controls worked on my mobile phone, but that wasn’t very helpful, as opening the keypad 1absolutely blocked the view and I couldn’t see where I was going. I used the Linphone app on an Iphone 5 - perhaps a tablet or a phone with a larger screen wouldn’t have this problem. However, the team was very helpful and after some tinkering, we found out that the robot responded when I opened the keypad in Linphone (you can do that from the Options menu) and clicked on the numbers. That apparently fixed any other problem there was and I was finally able to drive Endurance around with my keyboard
The first thing that I noticed when I connected with the Endurance was there was a lot of echo. However, I blame the tablet for that, rather than the robot itself. There was a delay and controlling where the Endurance was going, proved a challenge, as the robot always seemed to move a bit to the right. Despite the crash avoidance, I even managed to run it into a wall (thankfully without damaging anything), hence the four stars in quality. However, after a bit of cautious maneuvering, I got the hang of it. Still, it was hard to control the robot, so that's why I've given 4 stars in the "Ease of Use" category.
What I found really annoying was the constant sound I heard while controlling the robot. Imagine holding the key of a phone down – that beep that changes its tone in accordance to the number you’re pressing. That’s what you hear all the time while driving Endurance - I had to turn the volume of my computer off. Obviously, talking to someone while moving around would be impossible in this case. However, this is a problem that probably can be fixed, so I’d advise you to take in consideration the other qualities of Endurance before making your choice.
Some of the things I liked about this telepresence robot was that it has a customizable size – its height can be changed from 170 cm to 100 cm and smaller, so that it fulfills your needs. Another great thing about Endurance is that it can easily be disassembled and with a weight of 12 kg transporting it shouldn’t be a problem. The runtime is more than decent – you’d have around 6 hours before the battery dies and the robot needs to get back to the docking station. However, there’s no auto-docking option, which makes plugging in the Endurance a difficult task. I like that the robot doesn’t have a built in head, as it gives the customer the freedom to choose a tablet with the quality of the video and audio they need. You can auto-charge your tablet and auto-activate the conversation, making Endurance the perfect robot to check in on your pets and home while you’re away.
To sum it up, here’s a list of pros and cons for the Endurance:
+ Great customer service
+ Easy installation of the required software
+ Customizable size
+ Easy to transport
+ 6 hours of battery life
+ Customer chooses tablet with the needed qualities
+ Auto-charging option for the tablet
- Difficulties controlling the robot (delay, technical problems)
- Annoying beeping sounds
- Crash avoidance malfunction
- No auto-docking option