How it Works

Hover and rotate over the image above to learn about the on-board technology

Flexible Exchange Platform:

The TUG Robot has two basic types of configurations:  fixed, secure carts and an exchange base platform to carry a multitude of racks, carts or bins.  The fixed carts are available in drawer and door configurations and are accessed using a personal pin code and biometric authentication.  These are used to deliver medications, laboratory specimens or other sensitive materials.   The exchange platform allows the transportation of materials loaded on a wide variety of racks.  The racks are placed on the base and this base raises to lift the rack or shelf off the ground.  This allows one TUG to deliver many types of racks or carts making the TUG a highly flexible and highly utilized resource.TUG Robot Flexible Carts


Facility Preparation:

The Aethon TUG is a smart autonomous mobile robot:  it doesn’t need any beacons, staging depots or specific infrastructure to be added to the facility.  It uses its built in map and array of on-board sensors to navigate.  This is a real advantage of the TUG and sets it apart from AGV systems.  Other AGV systems can require dedicated hallways, large docking areas and navigation hardware to be installed through the facility.   The TUG is easy and cost effective to install in existing hospitals as well as new construction.


TUGMapThe TUG uses smart autonomous navigation.    A map of your hospital facility is created by our implementation team using a highly accurate laser floor dimensioning tool.  The facility layout is then programmed with routes including use of elevators, auto-opening doors, delivery points and charging stations.  The programmed map is loaded into the TUG’s memory. The TUG uses the on-board map for guidance and calculates its location in real time through an Aethon-patented odometry algorithm.  It uses its on-board sensors to adjust to the dynamic and changing hallways in real time to safely navigate around people and obstacles while always staying on track with its built-in map.

The TUG utilizes your existing WiFi system (or 900mhz if preferred) to communicate with elevators, automatic doors and fire alarms.  It also uses the WiFi system to provide constant contact with our cloud command center which monitors the TUG 24/7.


TUG_TOUCHSCREEN_smallThe TUG is sent or requested using a touch screen interface.    As part of the mapping process, our implementation team programs the various delivery points through the hospital.  By touching one or more of the programmed delivery location buttons on the screen, the TUG will travel on your command and determine the optimal route to minimize travel time.


In applications where secure access is important, like medication or specimen delivery, the TUG has a built in PIN pad and biometric fingerprint reader.  This ensures only authorized personnel access to the contents of a specific drawer or the door cabinet.


The TUG is self-charging.  Upon completing a run it returns to the charging dock for a sip of energy while it is loaded for the next job.  This “opportunistic charging” allows the TUG to run 10 hours or more at a time.


The TUG can pull up to 1000 lbs (453 kg)