Panasonic Tests Autonomous Delivery Robot

HOSPI tested at Japanese airport and hotel.

(Image courtesy of Panasonic.)

(Image courtesy of Panasonic.)

In an effort to develop delivery robots, Panasonic Corporation has been testing out its new unit, dubbed HOSPI. The autonomous delivery robot has been making deliveries at the Narita International Airport and ANA Crowne Plaza Narita in Japan.

The unit uses a preprogrammed map and sensors to move around and deliver items to customers. According to Panasonic, it is also programed with an advanced collision-avoidance algorithm, enabling it to navigate around objects or passersby, not unlike the obstacle avoidance technology used by Domino’s robotic delivery unit, DRU.

The robots were used to retrieve used dishware in the airport lounge and offer drink service in the hotel lobby. Through these demonstration experiments, Panasonic aimed to  verify the utility of the HOSPI in performing other types of delivery services, as well as accelerate the commercial development of the HOSPI.

At the moment, there are no plans to introduce the HOSPI to the Narita International Airport and the ANA Crowne Plaza Narita more permanently.

HOSPI(R)’s primary advantage is that it does not require navigation equipment to be installed in walls or ceilings or guide tapes to help the robot navigate its surroundings.

The unit has also been put to work delivering medications and medical specimens by four Japanese hospitals. You can see HOSPI in action at the ANA Crowne Plaza and the Narita International Airport in the video below:

For a very different approach to robotic delivery, check out the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van.