Hitachi once presented a new version of its transportation robot Lapi (Logistics Automation Partner with Intelligence) at IREX 2009, which can carry up to 30kg (66 lbs) at a maximum speed of 3.6km per hour. The robot uses a laser range finder for obstacle avoidance, and does not require special tracks to maintain a route. Hitachi plans to continue testing the robot’s performance and practicality before marketing it, but seems confident that it will help improve efficiency at production facilities, distribution centers, and factories. Lapi was first demonstrated in September 2008.
A separate division of Hitachi demonstrated a fiber optic sensor that can detect intruders as they pass over a wire fence or gate. The sensor accurately distinguishes between the vibrations caused by humans and other factors, such as gale force winds, with virtually no false alarms. The system works by analyzing the amount of light passing through the cable, which fluctuates as it vibrates. Hitachi is working with security companies, with some 2-3 billion yen in sales expected this year alone.
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