Panasonic says it aims to tackle the needs of smart societies – from healthcare to retail and logistics – with industrial technology. (See video below.)
The company says it will use its broad expertise in sensors as well as drives technology, and its technologies in industrial robots to meet the challenge.
Panasonic says its approach is based on “pragmatic solutions that work with people”, and this can be defined within three core pillars: augmented solutions, stand-alone solutions, and complete robotics automation solutions.
Each of these will be applied to five key areas that Panasonic has identified will greatly benefit from robotics technology:
- retail and logistics;
- healthcare sector;
- infrastructure or agriculture applications; and
- applications within the home environment.
Utilizing the advantage in industrial robots and sensory
The company is a tier-one producer of industry robots due to its development of cutting-edge sensors and leading in-house manufacturing competencies.
The general market trends in sensory & drives, such as the focus on miniaturization, the combination of multiple sensors in one device and the reduction of mass, enable new applications to be explored.
Johannes Spatz, president of Panasonic industry in Europe states, says: “We believe the knowledge and technology in these areas along with our know-how in industrial robots prepare a reliable and tested pathway for successful applications of robotics in other areas.”
One of the examples highlighting the transference of industrial applications and expertise to the healthcare industry is the usage of lidar sensors within delivery robots that had originally been developed for automated guided vehicles in production sites.
This semi-automated robotics application is enabling the outsourcing of standard tasks to meet the needs of flexibility and staff shortage within busy hospitals.
Academic partnerships and open source solutions
Central to Panasonic’s strategy is a strategic change. Panasonic now has cooperation and joint offices with nine universities – two in Europe and six in Japan.
Among the partnerships in Europe are those with the Technical University in Munich, Germany, and the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland.
Takeshi Ando, head of the global robotics R&D activities at Panasonic, says: “Panasonic has evolved from pushing proprietary systems to an open technology platform. The new platform combines elemental technologies from sensing to, system integration.”