Robot Porters Coming to Ferry Poo Around Glasgow Hospitals

By Gary Cutlack on at

A miniature fleet of autonomous robots will be helping out in and around Glasgow's new South Glasgow University Hospital when it opens later this month, with the hospital said to be investing £1.3m on the jumped-up new self-aware trollies.

Calling them "robots" is perhaps imbuing the things with a bit more sense than they come pre-loaded with, mind, with the North Bristol NHS Trust using the boring old term "automated guided vehicles" to describe the fleet. Their jobs will involve carrying linen, food and waste products around the hospital, with the devices having their own special lift to ensure staff never find themselves having to make conversation with one, plus they have emergency stop buttons for noses which would make punching one very satisfying.

They're free-roaming trolleys, basically, ones you can summon with a button when you need a thing from three miles of corridor away. Jim Magee, operator of the units and the man they'll be calling "dad" when they become self-aware after an accident in the X-ray department, said: "Some people have been a little wary around them, unsure how to react, but they will get used to them in time. The technology is brilliant. For example, the AGVs will return themselves to a charging station if their power is running low." [Express]