Self-Driving Robot Car Could Replace The Mobility Scooter

Originally designed for the elderly and disabled, the Hitachi Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System negotiates itself around pedestrians and over uneven terrain using a variety of sensors and guidance systems.

What's the Latest Development?


Early this month Hitachi unveiled its new Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System (ROPITS), a small self-driving "car" that's built for sidewalks and paths instead of roads. ROPITS contains various cameras and guidance systems that allow it to navigate around pedestrians and other obstacles. It also has wheels that automatically adjust to accommodate uneven terrain or changes in level, such as curbs. A touch-screen map and built-in GPS device gets the vehicle from point A to point B. Although it is automated, a passenger can drive it with a joystick if desired. 

What's the Big Idea?

ROPITS is the latest in "vehicle autonomy" technology, which is being explored by various manufacturers such as Google and its fleet of smart cars, as well as localities such as the Abu Dhabi city of Masdar and its unmanned shuttles. Hitachi's version was originally developed for elderly and disabled persons, who could use it for travel over short distances. However, the company believes that in the future, the technology could replace delivery men, bringing goods to homes autonomously.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Guardian

Related Articles

Why the world needs death to prosper

Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
  • After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
  • Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
Keep reading Show less

Why birds fly south for the winter—and more about bird migration

What do we see from watching birds move across the country?

E. Fleischer
Surprising Science
  • A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
  • The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
  • Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Keep reading Show less

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less