Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Hitachi Rolls Into Future With Robotic Transporter
TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Pref. (Nikkei)--Hitachi Ltd. (6501) unveiled Tuesday an autonomous mobile robot that functions as a single-person transporter, coming on its own when summoned and ferrying a passenger to his or her destination.
Dubbed the Ropits, short for Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System, the machine is designed for the elderly and others lacking mobility, giving them the means to move between their homes and nearby hospitals and stores.
Once summoned, a map is displayed on a tablet interface that the rider can use to specify the desired destination. Once the information is input, the robot follows the route on its own.
The automated transporter weighs 200kg and can travel at speeds of 6kph, powered by its lithium ion battery. Onboard cameras and distance-measuring lasers systems are used to avoid obstacles and slow down in narrow spaces.
For testing in Tsukuba City, Hitachi has registered the robot as a motorized bicycle.
(The Nikkei Business Daily, March 13 edition)