Cyberdyne, the inventor of the HAL exoskeleton, is expanding their product line and Japan’s Haneda Airport is their first customer.
Three different types of robots will be put to work at the airport:
- Industrial-grade floor cleanersÂ will roam and clean carpets and floors along the corridors of the airport.
- A waist-based mini-exoskeletonÂ (shown in the top photo)Â for airport employees charged with moving and lifting baggage and goods. The lumbar support device reads bio-electric signals (BES) and supports the wearerâs motion by moving in accordance with the wearerâs brain signals.
- A new mobile porter to carry and deliver passenger luggage and also airport vendor goods. Based on the mobile platform used by the floor cleaner, but supplemented with follow-me and other navigation software, the porter bots will assistÂ passengers and airport staff with heavy luggage andÂ will also deliver goods to airport vendors.
The new robots are part of a trialÂ program the airport is sponsoring to improve employee efficiency while also improving their ergonomic experience. Financial incentives are being provided by the Japanese government for the trial as part of its program to showcase Japanese robotics at and during the 2020 Olympics.
“The key goal of the project is to communicate Japanâs technology from Haneda Airport, a doorstep of JapanÂ to the world.Â Haneda Airport is a hub for domestic flights, and itâs seeing international landing slots expanding, routes expanding and inbound passengers increasing and we have explored ways to take advantage of these characteristics and use the airport as a place where we can showcase the great things in Japan, such as its technology, industry, culture, history, and so on,â said AirportÂ President Isao Takashiro.
If the trial program is successful, the airport and Cyberdyne plan to roll out these robots to other airports in Japan in time for the 2020 Olympics.