Frequently Asked QuestionsAethon’s solutions and technology — and our tie to healthcare, transportation, asset management, logistics and delivery — have spurred many questions over the years. In this section, you’ll gain additional insight into how Aethon products work and roll.
How does TUG know where it's going?
TUG has an onboard computer containing a programmed map of the building. TUG also has sensors that continuously track its location on the map. TUG does NOT require any structural changes to the building such as wires in the floor or sensors in the ceiling.
How does TUG avoid people and other obstacles?
TUG has a matrix of sensors known as Light Whiskers® to detect people or obstacles. These “whiskers” look for anything in its path. TUG operates in a natural way – yielding right-of-way by stopping, slowing or going around obstacles as appropriate – allowing it to co-exist with pedestrian traffic with no rules or training.
Can TUG use elevators and automated doors?
Yes. TUG can communicate wirelessly with elevators and automatic doors so that it can travel between floors and go through doorways automatically.
Will TUG's communications affect other hospital systems?
No. TUG uses significantly higher radio frequencies than any other hospital systems, equipment or devices to avoid interference. Specifically, healthcare devices operate between the very low frequencies of 300 KHz and 30 MHz. TUG uses the much higher frequencies of 418 MHz and 2.4 GHz.
What ongoing service and maintenance does TUG require?
The only parts of TUG that require occasional replacement are the batteries, the motor and the wheels — all of which are covered under Aethon’s maintenance agreement.
How are the batteries charged?
TUG automatically docks itself on a charging station and controls its own charging. No user intervention is required. TUG docks itself between deliveries to keep the charge as full as possible.
How big is TUG? How much room does it require?
TUG itself is quite small, measuring only 7-1/4”H x 20”W and weighs 55 lbs. The size of TUG is really defined by the size of the cart. If the cart fits through doorways and into elevators before attaching to TUG, it will work just as well with it.
Does TUG require special carts?
No. TUG uses commercially available, off-the-shelf carts.
What carts can TUG use?
TUG can use virtually all types of carts. You select the one that is most appropriate for the application.
Is the cart permanently attached to TUG?
That is up to you. Aethon offers several TUG models. One model connects to the cart permanently when security is paramount or exchangeability is not part of the application. Other models allow for automatic drop off and pick up of exchange carts.
I have a tube system – do I need a TUG?
Yes. TUG is the perfect complement to any tube system. TUG can deliver to locations where the tube system can’t. TUG delivers heavier/bulkier items (up to 500 lbs.) than a tube system can handle, such as IVs and other supplies. TUG can safely deliver test tubes and other samples without the risk of breakage and biohazard cleanup.
How does TUG perform asset tracking?
Leveraging the TUG platform, Aethon deploys a mobile antenna inside TUG that eliminates the typical infrastructure hurdles of competitors’ systems. Aethon’s asset tracking solution works with any third-party active RFID and can be integrated into existing asset management software. Aethon provides installation, tag selection and setup, software integration, training and support.