A hospital in Nagoya, Japan will soon have robots helping out the staff during night shifts. The robots are developed by Toyota and while they won’t be taking over from the real doctors anytime soon, they will be used for ferrying medicines and test samples between floors. The robots will be used for these tasks for a year at the Nagoya University Hospital.
The robots are basically refrigerators with a 90-liter capacity. They move around using radar and cameras to make their way between floors. The machines have been programmed to avoid running into humans and can even politely say “Excuse me, please let me pass,” if it can’t get past them.
The robots have been built by Nagoya in partnership with Toyota Industries. It’s a subsidiary of the car manufacturer that develops electronics and auto parts.
The trial will see the robots in action during the night shift at the hospital between 5 pm and 8 am. That’s when fewer people are walking the floors so there’s a less chance of things going wrong if they ever do.
If the one-year trial goes well, the hospital may think about deploying additional units to help out the staff in ferrying medicines and materials between floors.