Toyota recently wrapped up its first in-home trial in North America of its Human Support Robot platform. The robot, which goes by HSR for short, is one of the mobility assistance bots that the automaker is developing for use in the realm of improving quality of life for everyday people.
Toyota has a range of projects underway targeting improved mobility for users with limited or impaired capacities, including senior citizens. In addition to the HSR, they’re also developing a wearable robotic leg brace that restores walking capabilities to individuals with lower body paralysis, a tech that helps those with sight problems gain improved awareness of their surroundings, and robots that can help with transferring patients under supervised care from bed, to chairs. Closer to its home business, Toyota is also working on a device that can help with entry and exit of car seats for those with limited mobility.
The HSR trial that Toyota just completed in North America was run with U.S. war vet Romy Camargo, who suffered injuries in Afghanistan during his service that left him paralyzed below the neck. The robot is a wheeled affair with visual sensors and an articulating arm appendage, and can assist Camargo and his family by performing simple tasks around the house like opening and closing doors, as well as fetching water bottles and other objects.
Many automakers, including Hyundai, Honda, and more, are exploring research in mobility assistance, last mile solutions and in-home robotics as opportunities for potential future business. Toyota also has Toyota Research Institute, an entire organization devoted to research in the field of AI and robotics for mobility solutions. This trial and others like it could eventually pave the way toward true commercialization of domestic robotics down the road.