(Reuters) — Japanese automakers are looking beyond the industry trend to develop self-driving cars and turning their attention to robots to help keep the country’s rapidly graying society on the move.
Toyota Motor Corp said it saw the possibility of becoming a mass producer of robots to help the elderly in a country whose population is ageing faster than the rest of the world as the birthrate decreases.
The country’s changing demographics place its automakers in a unique situation. Along with the issues usually associated with falling populations such as labor shortages and pension squeezes, Japan also faces dwindling domestic demand for cars.
Toyota, the world’s second largest automaker, made its first foray into commercializing rehabilitation robots on Wednesday, launching a rental service for its walk assist system, which helps patients to learn how to walk again after suffering strokes and other conditions.
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