Swisslog has been making these little robots for a long time, although I don’t see many of them in the wild these days.
They’re pretty cool in their own right. The robots themselves are reasonably small. The previous version was only 35-inches tall, and weighed in around 100 pounds. But they could carry up to 50 pounds worth of cargo and could navigate around the hospital completely on autopilot.
I’m not entirely sure, but I believe they use RFID technology to navigate.
[Update 08 01 2013]: According to Swisslog the RoboCurrier “utilizes an obstacle avoidance system and mapping software that’s set up during installation“.
— Swisslog (@SwisslogNA) August 1, 2013
One of the coolest features though is use of a prerecorded message to announce its arrival.
The press release from Swisslog indicates that the new RoboCurrier Robot can now transport payloads up to 100 pounds, and has updated software.
The only information I could find on the “next-generation RobCurrier Autonomous Mobile Robot” was in the press release. I came up empty on YouTube as well as with my Google search.
The video below is several years old, but gives you a general idea of what the little guy does.
From the press release (RobotXWorld.com):
“Swisslog, the leading supplier of automation solutions for hospital material transport, today announced the release of its next-generation RoboCourier Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) at this week’s 2013 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Houston, TX. RoboCourier automates secure, hospital-wide transport of payloads up to 100 pounds. The next-generation RoboCourier features a complete redesign for better ergonomics and serviceability, updated software, improved storage capacity, automatic interfaces for doors and elevators and secure transport of lab specimens, medications, supplies and protected health information.
Using RoboCourier, hospitals can automate scheduled and on-demand deliveries of laboratory samples, medications and other materials. Autonomous operation frees users for more-critical activities, while saving miles of walking per day for each technician or processor. Easy to use and easy to program, RoboCourier offers the smallest footprint for automated transport and recharges from a standard wall outlet. Its 360a- turn radius allows it to navigate tight spaces and narrow and crowded hallways, making it ideal for both intra- and inter-department deliveries.“