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Self-Driving, One-Person Car

Worried about your future self-driving car getting into an accident with one of those old-fashioned, human-driven autos? Then get on the sidewalk! That appears to be the concept behind this very tiny, self-driving vehicle that Hitachi unveiled earlier this month.


The Hitachi Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System (Ropits, for short), is a one-person vehicle that uses GPS and laser sensors to ferry passengers from place to place on pedestrian walkways and sidewalks. A gyro sensor keeps it from toppling over on uneven surfaces, and a tablet PC stores maps and helps users select their destination.

There’s also a joystick controller that passengers can use if they have to steer during an emergency.

The vehicle was designed for use by people who may have mobility issues: the elderly or the handicapped, for example. In that sense, this is sort of a like a high-tech, self-directed version of a wheelchair or one of those mobility scooters like The Rascal.

It also one-ups the one-man car (the P45) built by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, which the celebrity tinkerer test drove earlier this year.

Source: Tokyo Times

About Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@deskeng.com.

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