By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from NHK
January 22 2022
Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Pref – An experiment is being carried out in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, to demonstrate a service that would allow users to use a single app to make cab reservations and arrange for vehicles to be automatically driven around hospitals so that elderly people and people with disabilities who have difficulty getting around can visit medical institutions smoothly.
The service is being tested by Tsukuba City, in cooperation with private companies and other organizations in order to utilize a system called “MaaS”, which enables the combination of multiple means of transportation to make reservations and settlements all at once for medical examinations. The first step is to book a cab through an app on your smartphone or other device, and inside the car, use the face recognition function of the tablet provided to check in at the hospital.
Then, at the entrance of the hospital, an automated, single-seater vehicle is waiting for them, and they can move to the blood collection room without walking.
The demonstration experiment will continue until the middle of next month, with the aim of commercializing part of the service in the next fiscal year.
Tsukuba City Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi, who participated in the experiment, said, “We were able to reach our destination very smoothly. There are many people who have difficulties in getting around, so we would like to put this service to practical use as soon as possible.”