The single-passenger vehicle acts as a personal taxi service, minus the driver
Hitachi has unveiled its Ropits single passenger robot car, which looks like a Fisher Price Cozy Coupe for adults and does the driving all on its own. The name and style prompt one to think of a science fiction contraption, but it’s the vehicle’s autonomic functionality that truly brings the idea of “futuristic” to the forefront.
Ropits stands for Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System, and was designed to aid those who find walking difficult. The idea is that Ropits vehicles could be outfitted in a city, for example, and hailed via a computer or kiosk of some sort positioned in various places around town. The robotic car will retrieve the passenger and whisk him or her away to their destination.
It has GPS for easy navigation and laser distance sensors to determine obstacles and a gyro sensor for those uneven roads. It is also small enough that it can maneuver its way through pedestrian spaces without the walking “civilians” getting mad or hurt.
The passenger has to indicate on the touch-screen map their desired destination and Ropits will do the rest. The system is also designed that anyone who needs to use the robot car can hail a Ropits from computer-networked stops around the city. If you’re worried about getting dizzy as it zigzags its way around the city, it has “active suspension” which controls each wheel individually to keep the passenger comfortably upright.