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Business trends

At your service: Japanese robots move out of the factory

Intelligent machines take on the dirty work in offices and shopping malls

The market for robots in Japan's service sector is expected to increase tenfold between 2015 and 2035 to 4.9 trillion yen ($44.6 billion). (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- As Mitsubishi Estate's employees start heading home in the early evening, robots get ready for work.

Whiz, a new cleaning machine developed by SoftBank Robotics, starts vacuuming the halls of the real estate company's Tokyo offices. Once a human guide manually puts it on a desirable course, the floor cleaner can repeat the path on its own using sensors and cameras. It also comes equipped with a SIM card that sends data to Brain, a U.S. artificial intelligence startup that updates the software so that it can better avoid humans and obstacles.

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