Robots are all over the news these days. Some of them make our lives easier by automating our lives, and others make our lives more difficult by threatening to take our jobs.

Japan Railways, Japan’s largest train company, heard the complaints of customers who use their terminals. In fact, they think robots are the perfect solution to the commuter’s problems. Japan Railways East, a subdivision of Japan Railways, is creating JRE Robotics Station. This robotics company will source tech talent from their own neighborhood to create four functionally different robots.

JRE Robotics Station is building robots with the goal of reducing workload, securing labor, and reducing costs. As with most technology, any noticeable cost-savings require a significant investment. Still, commuters and train operators are excited for this new technological development so close to home.

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Four Types of Robots With Limitless Possibilities For More

JRE Robotics Station’s robots will work at Japan Railway East’s stations. The first type of robot designed will be a guidance robot. It will help commuters and tourists find their way through stations to get to their destinations on time. The guidance robot will also have the gift of gab – it will be able to speak many languages so foreigners can rest easy in a new land. These robots will have storage spaces for luggage, so you can drop your luggage off securely and start running towards that train leaving in 2 minutes.

In addition to the cargo spaces in the guidance robots, self-piloting luggage robots will help passengers out. Don’t stop weightlifting, though. These robots will prioritize disabled travelers’ needs over everyone else.

Another type of robot JRE Robotics Station will design is a janitorial, or cleaning, robot. These robots will keep debris off of the tracks, station, and platforms, serving as tidying machines.

Finally, the fourth type of robot to be designed is the much-anticipated security robots. They will be equipped with on-board cameras to quickly pinpoint suspicious behavior. They’ll even send automatic alerts to nearby human police officers, so shoplifting will be more difficult than ever.

Although it may sound like Japan Railways only works with trains, it is a more diversified company with various kinds of business assets. The company works in several industries: property management, hospitality, and technology, including shopping centers and hotels. And now, robotics.

With Japan Railway’s property assets, JRE Robotics Station can look forward to distributing their robots into a huge network of people’s daily lives.

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Robotics With A Large Distribution Network: The Future for Japan Railway’s Robots

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, many Japanese companies, including JR East, look forward to showing off their innovations in technology. Japan expects millions of foreigners and tourists to flood the island to watch the games.

Another, more well-known, factor pushing Japanese innovation in robot technology is the nation’s rapidly aging economy and shrinking population. It is no secret that Japan is facing growing labor shortages in a country that is traditionally resistant to large-scale immigration, in or out. This means janitors, security guards, and general station attendants are at a high risk of diminishing in the next few years.

As of this writing, JRE Robotics Station did not announce a timeline for the design, development, testing, and distribution of their robots. However, the company has released an update regarding their cleaning robots. Their prototype robot is in initial testing stages, focusing on the moving mechanism and cleaning machinery. Their testing reveals that the prototype robot fulfilled its cleaning expectations. Unfortunately, JRE Robotics Station is still not pleased with the moving mechanism, citing that the movement errors accumulate the more the robot moves. Currently, their work focuses on fine-tuning the robot’s movements.

The company is testing the cleaning robot at the JR East Smart Station Lab. This station will serve as a model station for implementing the robots in a full-scale capacity.

If you need a security robot to watch your back for you, we love policing robot Knightscope K5. For $6.25 an hour, you can rest assured that someone’s looking out for you and your fellow passengers.
Sources: Japan Railways East, CNET, Digital Trends, Rocket News 24