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Panasonic puts its robots to hard labor at Japanese airport

While the world's not quite ready for a drink-serving R2-D2, at least this one can collect your dirty dishes.

While robots are starting to be used to greet you at stores, Panasonic looks to put them to real work.

The company's HOSPI robot is undergoing trials at Narita Airport in Chiba, Japan, where it's collecting used plates from restaurants and food courts in addition to serving drinks and providing directional information to customers.

The cheery Dalek-in-training was originally designed for shuttling medical samples and files to doctors in hospitals and is used in four hospitals around the country, according to Panasonic. Along with its mapping information and high-performance sensors, the robot has advanced collision-detection tech, meaning that no guidance equipment needs to be put into walls or ceilings.

Panasonic is evidently keen to have robots do our bidding, recently trialling robotic checkout machines in Osaka. Over the years, the company has also experimented with shampoo robots and the building of a robotic triathlete.

While the HOSPI robots drink-delivery trial was only for the space of a few of days between the 14th and 18th of January, a second demonstration of dishware collection was underway from the 23rd to the 27th of January.