The Hitachi Ropit (Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System) is a new self-driving vehicle concept from Japanese electronics company Hitachi. Designed to help Japan’s growing senior population get around urban areas more easily, the Hitachi Ropit can be remotely controlled using a tablet computer to pick up and drop off passengers.
The single-seat vehicle, which is powered with a lithium battery, is designed to travel on pavements and pedestrian zones of urban centres and has a top speed of 3.7mph. Once the destination has been programmed into the tablet, the vehicle uses front- and back-mounted gyro sensors alongside a global positioning system to map the route. A stereoscopic (depth-sensing) camera and laser distance sensor means the Ropit can detect and avoid pedestrians and other obstacles.
Major car and technology brands across the world are investing heavily in research projects exploring the potential of autonomous automobiles, which promise a safer driving experience for road users. US internet giant Google has an ongoing project to create a driverless car, while at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, both Japanese carmaker Toyota and German auto brand Audi exhibited vehicles with self-driving capacity. To read more about self-driving vehicles, read Autonomous Autos.