At UCSF in San Francisco, 25 robotic couriers called TUGs provide efficient, reliable deliveries between hospital staff. This smart hospital robot is an autonomous, high tech courier.
With the robotics industry rapidly advancing, one of the most exciting areas of development is within healthcare. We have already seen the Veebot — which automates the process of drawing blood, and MEDi — a robot that distracts kids from uncomfortable medical examinations. Now, in San Francisco, a fleet of 25 smart courier robots called TUGs are taking over delivery tasks, enabling staff to concentrate on more important jobs.
The sheer size of UCSF Hospital often leads to lengthy journeys, sometimes with heavy cargo. Looking to combat this issue, the new TUGs are able to make 50,000 deliveries a week — efficiently transporting supplies between staff across different floors and wings. They can carry loads of up to 1,000 pounds including lab specimens, linens, meals, medicines and paperwork. Each TUG is equipped with over 30 sensors, as well as sonar, lasers, infrared and a camera. They have the complicated hospital floor plan embedded in their hard drives and are able to navigate the building autonomously, sensing the size of the corridors and avoiding collisions. They can undertake scheduled or on demand tasks, communicating over wifi to call elevators and open doors.