Robot Ridesharing to the Rescue of An Aging Citizenry

In Japan, which has the fastest aging population in the developing world, Hitachi recently demonstrated the Ropits, pictured above. Is it a single seat, self-driving electric vehicle intended precisely to address the problem of senior mobility. It doesn’t drive on the street and its top speed is that of a brisk walk, but by pointing to your destination on a tablet, the little self-driving ‘car’ will take you there, at least in theory. Using a combination of GPS, cameras and laser range-finders, Ropit sees and avoids obstacles, including pedestrians. It’s designed to operate in tight spaces and turns on a yen.