On June 12, Tokyo Metro conducted its first test run of using an unmanned robot to disinfect commonly used surfaces in Tsukishima station, located in the Chuo Ward of Tokyo.
The robot, named Patoro (from the first two syllables of the Japanese word for “patrol”, パトロール or patorōru, and the “ro” from “robot”) was created by Japanese robotics company, ZMP Inc. The company describes Patoro as a “small robot [that] has the function of unmanned patrol by autonomous driving and unmanned spray of disinfectant solution.”
The test run occurred after the last train departure, with Patoro using a pre-programmed 3D map of Tsukishima station as a guide to move around. The robot sprayed disinfection solution on handrails inside the station’s restrooms and the counters by the ticket machines.
According to Tokyo Metro’s press release, although they were able to confirm that Patoro is capable of spraying disinfectant while on the move, they discovered problems such as the robot’s inability to automatically adjust the height of the spray. They also stated that they will conduct another test in the future, and will expand Patoro’s targets to include ticket machines and elevators.
Aside from being able to disinfect surfaces, the robot is listed on ZMP’s website as having features such as a patrol lamp, an infrared camera with thermal detection, and even a “criminal pursuit version” that can chase a person up to a speed of 20km/h. On the outside, Patoro is also described as having “rich facial expressions and voice.”
Patoro is the most recent addition to the robotics company’s “Life Robot Brothers” series, which also consists of a delivery robot called “Deliro”, released in 2018, and an autonomous electric wheelchair, “Rakuro”, from 2019.