Panasonic has rolled out its server robots at Tokyo’s main Narita airport, where they are serving foods and drinks to passengers as they pass through.
The HOSPI robot was originally designed for transporting medical files, samples and other supplies around hospitals, but they proved so efficient, the airport decided to start using them in the airport’s restaurants and bars because it seems humans just don’t want the job.
“As we head towards 2020, Japan will welcome more visitors from overseas, and also face labour shortages as the birth rate declines and society ages,” said Ryosuke Murai, a manager at the Robotics Business Promotion Department at Panasonic.
They have been running around the corridors of four hospitals in Asia since they were first launched in 2015 and although there have been some tweaks over the last two years, they’re super-efficient at their job.
“HOSPI can help us save manpower and time in a simple and practical way especially with the challenges we are facing with an aging workforce whilst our healthcare facilities increases in size and distance,” Selina Seah, assistant chief executive officer at Changi General Hospital, one of the hospitals using the robots said. “By harnessing autonomous technology like HOSPI, we can optimise our workforce and improve productivity. We welcome Panasonic as a CHART partner to work with us to innovate healthcare operations and patient care.”
What makes the HOSPI robot so suitable for this task is its ability to avoid objects, meaning no other technology needs to be integrated into the area it’s servicing. Operators can simply switch the robots on and they’re ready to go without any more investment.
However, the tech was only rolled out for a limited trial between 12th and 17th January, although it proved so successful, a second trial has just been completed too.