TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Panasonic Corp (6752.T) said it plans to launch a drug-dispensing robot by March 2010 in its first foray into the robot business.
The company is targeting robot production as a growth area as its consumer electronics division has been battered by weak demand and price falls. It aims for 30 billion yen ($315 million) in annual medical robot sales in 7 years.
The initial robot, designed to help medical workers in hospitals, is capable of automatically dispensing injectable medication suitable for individual patients based on data provided by pharmacists. Each unit will sell for tens of millions of yen (several hundred thousand dollars), a Panasonic spokesman said on Tuesday.
The firm, which vies with Sony Corp (6758.T) for the position as the world’s largest consumer electronics maker, aims for 100 billion yen or more in sales from its overall robot operations in the year ending March 2016.
Shares in Panasonic, which forecast group-wide revenues of 7 trillion yen for the current financial year ending March 31, were up 0.8 percent at 1,279 yen, outperforming a 0.8 percent fall in the Tokyo stock market’s electrical machinery index .IELEC.T.
Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Joseph Radford