Daniel_Stuckey writes "According to a report in Shiotsu Autotrade Japan, Hitachi Ltd. has recently unveiled an electric car that operates without a driver. Unlike Google's Driverless Car, where users speak to the machine to control the vehicle, the Hitachi auto-taxi doesn't require any human-to-machine interaction once a location is plugged into the car's GPS. No pedals, no wheel–only a finger is needed to get from A to B.
The company is calling its invention ROPITS–Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System–and is designed for elderly people and disabled individuals, as well as for potentially transporting goods. It sounds like one of the first commodified public transportation drones.
The destination and arrival time can be toggled using a tablet computer with GPS, but what makes this mobile bot especially unique is that it is small enough to drive on sidewalks, something Google or Toyota's i-Road cannot do. Now, whether they should is another question altogether."
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