Japan has long been known for leading the way when it comes to some of the coolest tech, so it makes sense that HOSPI(R), the autonomous delivery robot, is now running through live tests in that country. HOSPI(R) is at this very moment scooting around the ANA Crowne Plaza Narita — Panasonic says the robot “will move around the lobby offering bottled beverages to hotel guests. It will also provide information about bus departures.”
HOSPI(R) will be there until next Wednesday, when it will move onto the Narita International Airport’s travel lounge from January 23-27 — acting as a busboy, trundling off with dirty dishes to be cleaned after staff loads up the storage compartment in the back.
The squat, chunky little robot has been in use at some area hospitals, delivering medicine to doctors and the like. It stands five feet tall with a friendly animated “face,” and can communicate through its speakers. In a nod towards fans of Doctor Who, Slashgear says HOSPI(R) “resembles an armless Dalek of sorts, albeit one with a friendly face rather than an appetite for murdering Time Lords.”
This is another example of technology potentially taking over human jobs, much like automated scanner checkout lines have done at some stores. Companies see a way to potentially “improve” efficiency, while aiding the bottom line by not having to pay a salary or spring for benefits.
Panasonic’s media site says “At the moment, there are no plans to introduce the HOSPI(R) to the Narita International Airport and the ANA Crowne Plaza Narita more permanently.” We know that is subject to change, of course! We’re getting closer and closer to the living with Robot from Lost In Space and Rosie from The Jetsons.
Now, HOSPI(R), be a good chap and go fetch a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.
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