top of page

Panasonic:Autonomous robots deliver medication door-to-door in a highly resilient town of the future

The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST) was established in 2014. Panasonic played a central role in bringing to life this town measuring approximately 19 hectares built on its old factory site in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture where 2,000 people currently live.


In Japan, there are not enough delivery workers and lifestyles are changing, giving way to new challenges. The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, located in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is drawing on its collective power to address these challenges. A new initiative that just began is a cutting-edge field experiment using compact delivery robots that will deliver products to people’s homes. Let’s hear what the people involved in this project have to say.


An ever-evolving town perfect for testing state-of-the-art technologies

The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST) was established in 2014. Panasonic played a central role in bringing to life this town measuring approximately 19 hectares built on its old factory site in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture where 2,000 people currently live.


FSST aspires to create a “100-Year Community.” And in order to ensure its sustainable development, the town established its own management company, the “Fujisawa SST Management Company.” Working with the next generation self-governing body, “Fujisawa SST Committee,” which has enlisted in this shared concept, the management company is helping to bring about resident-led town building. Moreover, 18 organizations including the city of Fujisawa that have concurred with the concept have formed a consortium, the “Fujisawa SST Council” to help invigorate the city.


The Fujisawa SST Council is made up of partners from a diverse range of fields including education, medicine, logistics, energy, homes, real-estate, and media. Since the grand opening in 2014, FSST has worked with various partners to run multiple PoCs (Proof of Concept) in this living, ever-changing environment. Panasonic’s Takeshi Arakawa, who serves as the President of the Fujisawa SST Management Company and Chairman of the Fujisawa SST Council stated, “We have conducted field experiments for new technologies, new businesses, and marketing initiatives almost every year. FSST residents are very understanding of and cooperative towards these leading-edge initiatives.”


One of these field experiments that has been running since 2020 is the delivery service for homes using Panasonic’s autonomous delivery robot. For this service, Panasonic is using the autonomous-driving robots it has developed over the years and the know-how it has gained through the ride share service it has been operating within its premises.


During phase 1, from November to December 2020, the robot was tested on public roads. Panasonic analyzed the data gained from this experiment and made improvements, and from March 5, 2021, a new experiment to deliver medication to patients’ homes from the pharmacy in town has begun. Mr. Arakawa explained the reason why they decided to focus on the delivery robot.


“Fujisawa City is part of the ‘Robot Town Sagami’ (special zone for robotics industry in the Sagami area) specified by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, and so the local government is very keen to find applications for robots. Then COVID-19 happened, and people now want to avoid face-to-face interaction and contact when exchanging goods. Moreover, the demand for EC and delivery has grown rapidly. Having said that, the delivery industry is faced with chronic labor shortage. In order to resolve the issues we are facing in the new normal, we decided to accept the autonomous delivery robot trial.”


The rapid implementation of delivery services using autonomous delivery robots is also highlighted in the national government’s growth strategy action plan, and Panasonic is also taking part in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry sponsored public-private council for the promotion of deliveries by autonomous robots. The demonstration experiment in question is also being supported by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), so it has received the support of society as well. Such favorable conditions together with FSST’s open-mindedness to new challenges made it an optimal testing ground for this experiment.

When Panasonic contacted the Fujisawa SST Committee about the autonomous delivery robot field experiment, many replied, “Yes, please!”


Mr. Arakawa added, “The community has been open to various field experiments, whether they involved robots or not. We make it a point not to force these experiments on the community. We believe it is important to discuss the challenges that the town is facing together. The Fujisawa SST Management Company is a hub and FSST a platform that matches the needs of its residents to those of companies.”



Ver artículo completo aquí >

11 visualizaciones0 comentarios

Entradas Recientes

Ver todo

Comments


bottom of page