Development of single-passenger mobility-support robot "ROPITS" for autonomous locomotion on footpaths

March 18th, 2013 in Technology / Engineering

Hitachi, Ltd. today announced the development of a mobility-support robot "ROPITS" equipped with a "specified arbitrary point autonomous pick-up and drop-off function" that can autonomously navigate to a point specified by a portable information terminal. The "specified arbitrary point autonomous pick-up and drop-off function" enables autonomous locomotion to a specified arbitrary point identified on a map on the Reservation/ Operation Screen of a portable information terminal. Using this function, ROPITS is able to autonomously go and pick-up a passenger at any desired pick-up point on a footpath, or deliver a passenger to a specified arbitrary destination.

The use of human symbiotic robots is expected to contribute to the establishment of a low carbon society for the achievement of a , as well as to support the needs of a future society with a high proportion of elderly people. ROPITS was developed to support the short-distance transportation of the elderly or those with walking difficulties, and is a single-passenger which can autonomously navigate pedestrian space within communities. In order to raise the level of autonomous travel technology to a practical level, has been participating in the Mobility Robot Experiment Special District ("Tsukuba Special District") in the City of Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture since 2011. Through pilot tests conducted on real-world footpaths, research has been conducted to improve usability and convenience as a transport support service, reliability in autonomous travel, as well as compatibility surveys with actual .

This time, to improve usability and convenience as a transport support service, Hitachi has developed the single-passenger mobility-support robot ROPITS with "specified arbitrary point autonomous pick-up and drop-off function," which can be summoned from anywhere within the town using the map in the portable information terminal.

Features of the technology developed are as below:

In actual pick-up and drop-off pilot tests in the Tsukuba Special District, it was confirmed that when the latitude and longitude of the destination was specified, ROPITS arrived at the position with an error margin of less than 1 meter. Using this function, experiments will be continued in the Tsukuba Special District to further improve autonomous travel and transport-support, as well as develop applied technology for transport-support services such as automatic goods deliveries and autonomous delivery vans to raise utilization efficiency of robots (e.g. unmanned delivery/ collection).

Details of this technology will be presented together with demonstrations at The Robotics and Mechatronics Conference 2013, ROBOMEC 2013, sponsored by the Robotics and Mechatronics Division of The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, to be held in the Tsukuba Special District from 22nd to 25th May 2013.

Source: Hitachi

"Development of single-passenger mobility-support robot "ROPITS" for autonomous locomotion on footpaths." March 18th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-03-single-passenger-mobility-support-robot-ropits-autonomous.html