Robotic Transporter – Is This the Future of Elder Mobility?

Hitachi's logoImagine for a moment you owned a robot – a mobility robot – kind of a enclosed wheelchair with a windshield and roof. It comes when you call it – instantly at your disposal and ready for your next command. You tell it where you want to go…and it drives you there all by itself. Could you use a robot like that?

If you were elderly or otherwise infirm – it could restore your freedom…

Meet ROPITS, your personal mobility robot. Developed by Hitachi, Ltd., ROPITS stands for Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System. Hitachi says this mobility or transportation robot is designed specifically to assist the elderly or infirm to regain some sense of freedom through independent mobility.

A significant challenge for the elderly is to be able to conduct those common routines of life that most of us take for granted – going to the grocery store, taking mail to the post office, or visiting your doctor. At a certain point in our lives, we lose the ability to do this independently – making it difficult or impossible to accomplish these common tasks.

Your transporter is ready when you are…

Hitachi's Ropits Personal Transporter

Hitachi’s ROPITS

Now Hitachi has developed what it suggests is the perfect solution – ROPITS. Designed to be a single-person transporter, ROPITS handles the task of safely transporting its rider to wherever they would like to travel.

Once the owner is safely seated within the transporter, they are presented with a local map on a large, clear tablet screen interface. From this screen, the rider chooses their destination which is input into the transporter’s electronics.

Like Google’s self-driving car…

While there were no technical details released, it would appear that this new transporter utilizes a system similar to Google’s self-driving car. Hitachi mentioned that the ROPITS transporter is guided by “onboard cameras” along with “distance-measuring lasers systems.”

However it is accomplished, the ROPITS transporter system safely conveys its passenger to wherever they would like to go, restoring individual freedom of mobility to those who have previously lost it. ROPITS is powered by a lithium-ion battery and can travel at speeds up to 6 kilometers/hour (about 2 miles/hour).

It knows when to slow down…

Hitachi’s ROPITS transporter weighs 200 kg (about 440 pounds) and is small and maneuverable enough to traverse narrow byways. Its sophisticated guidance system is designed to efficiently and safely deliver its passenger to their destination. These guidance systems will literally slow the vehicle down if it feels it is entering narrow or constricted spaces.

So now, when Grandma wants to go to the store, she just hops into her ROPITS transporter and away she goes!

About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist - primarily in the technology industry - I've experienced a sort of "circle of life" in business. I've been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives. Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development - I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.

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