Hitachi, Ltd. announced that it has developed”Ropits(robot for Intelligent Personal Transportation System),” a 1-seater mobility support robot that runs autonomously up to a designated point on a map displayed on a portable information terminal. It was developed for the purpose of supporting the short-distance movement of elderly people and people with difficulty in walking, and it is said that the person can automatically pick up or take him to the destination wherever he or she is.
Ropitz’s car length is about 1.5 meters, the width of the car is about 0.7 meters, the vehicle height is about 1.6 meters, and the bodyweight is about 200 kilograms. Using a lithium-ion battery, the vehicle travels 6 kilometers per hour in 4 cycles. Equipped stereo cameras and rotating 3D laser distance sensors detect irregularities in pedestrians and road surfaces.
As a result, away from the obstacle while maintaining the speed in a wide place, in a narrow place to travel by decelerating the vicinity of the obstacle. It moves the sidewalk smoothly while avoiding various obstacles such as automatic stopping when a pedestrian approaches. In addition, the suspension which absorbs the impact of the wheel and the driving device which can freely control the vertical position of the wheel are arranged in series, so that the car body is always kept horizontal, and it can run stably without losing balance even on sidewalks with waviness and unevenness.
Together with these, we developed a 3D map that reproduces the actual environment shape based on the high・precision information of latitude, longitude, and altitude. In the experiment conducted in ‘mobility robot experiment special zone’ (Tsukuba special zone)in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture since 2011, a 3D environment shape map of the sidewalk over 18 kilometers was made, and it was confirmed that Ropitz accurately recognized the coordinates(latitude and longitude)and moved them. In the actual sidewalk pick-up experiment, it is said that it was able to arrive within 1 meter of error relative to the coordinates of the destination.
In the future, we will continue to conduct experiments in the Tsukuba special zone and will work on the development of applied technologies such as automatic delivery of goods by Ropitz, unmanned vehicles, and unmanned forwarding. The details of the Ropitz technology will be announced at the”robotics and mechatronics Conference of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers(ROBOMEC)” held in Tsukuba special zone on 5/22-25, and a demonstration will be held.