Panasonic's delivery robot will sling drinks and clear tables

HOSPI(R) will only be in action for limited time this month, and exclusively in Japan.

Panasonic's relationship with robots is pretty well established at this point. Now the company is taking it one step further with the HOSPI(R) Autonomous Delivery Robot. From January 14th to the 18th, it'll inhabit the ANA Crowne Plaza Narita in Japan, delivering bottled drinks right from the fridge in its belly. Eww. It'll also be giving out bus directions according to a press release. Sounds a little bit less creepy than a robotic velociraptor checking you into a hotel, at least.

The following week HOSPI(R) will be at the Narita International Airport's "Narita Travel Lounge" to bus tables. Panasonic says that there aren't any plans to install the 'bot in either location permanently, however. Probably a good thing, right? After all, humans need those jobs too.

Panasonic describes the robot as a delivery machine that uses pre-programmed mapping info in concert with a collision-avoidance algorithm and an array of sensors to get around. About four hospitals in the world are using it for carrying medicine and other bits around campus. Now it just needs one of Panasonic's cute projectors stuffed inside it to complete the whole R2D2 vibe.