Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Care sectors as process


Person Transfer Robot Assistant


The PeTRA person transfer robot assistant is intended to relieve nursing staff of the time-consuming and personnel-intensive patient transport (e.g. from examination rooms to the ward) and to give them more time for "good care". Even though the nursing staff often delegates transport activities to assistants, in the off-peak hours when these assistants are not on duty in many facilities, the transport activities often fall back on registered nursing staff. For the accompanied transfer of a person to and from the facility, up to four trips of the staff are necessary (transfer to the examination and way back, afterwards pick up and way back), who are then not available for the actual care activities during this time. In addition, these transfers do not promote the mobility of the persons because there is no time; instead, manual and efficient transfers by wheelchair or bed are the standard. The transported person is also denied the autonomy to decide for himself whether and how he wants go or not. Considering that good care focuses on the human aspect, the requirement to move every person with a human companion is hardly sustainable.

Main goal

The main goal of PeTRA (Person Transfer Robot Assistant) is the creation of a support solution in patient logistics for the high-quality fulfilment of the transfer needs while at the same time relieving the workload of nursing staff and assistants. The intention is to create benefits for users and operators, with the focus on reclaiming nursing capacities of the examined personnel from non-nursing activities. The patients "using" the system are directed and accompanied to e.g. examinations in a case-related and flexible manner and thus according to their needs. All the patients benefit from the time that the nursing staff and the assistants gain through the intended solution by receiving more personal attention and care. The envisaged solution does not cause any additional financial costs for the entire organisation and thus fully meets the requirements of ELSI+.
PeTRA delivers „good care“ because through integrative needs assessment and continuous project support according to ELSI+, it strives for a solution that conforms to care practice. By taking into account the EPT (Economical, Practical and Technological) criteria set, it ensures that the solution approaches meet with the needs of care practice and the caregivers.

By implementing the  “multi-mobility concept”, the patient's individual mobility is supported with the following benefits:


  1. Increasing autonomy and independence: patients are guided according to their abilities. No one has to get into a wheelchair: Even if slowly, with this system everyone can walk without the need for staff.
  2. Relieving the workload of nursing staff and increasing the quality of care: The personnel costs for patient transports in a 100-bed hospital can be estimated at 10 full-time positions. PeTRA systems can help to reduce the shortage of nursing staff and increase the quality of care, because the nursing staff have more time for the actual nursing activities.
  3. Timely and error-free pick-up/bringing the patients to examinations: By focusing on automated patient transfer, the adherence to schedules and the flow of the facility's internal processes are significantly improved.
  4. Mobility promotion through use as an accompanying assistant when going for a walk.
  5. Expandability of the concept for rehabilitation applications: PeTRA's robotic arm can also take on rehabilitation tasks in future developments.


Ongoing project 02/2020 — 01/2023


Project consortium

KUKA Germany AG

Network coordinator
Corporate Research

Klaus Miller

phone: +49 (0)821 7971210
Klaus.Millerspam prevention@kuka.com


Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences

Faculty of Management Science and Engineering
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Wurll

phone: +49 (0)151 42237283
christian.wurllspam prevention@h-ka.de

The project is funded by

Project funding within the framework of the BMBF announcement „Robotische Systeme für die Pflege“