They are a familiar sight – and sound – at Nissan factories and those of other OEMs around the world: Little machines that truck around the factory floor while belting out “Mary had a little lamb,” or other distinguished ditties. Now, they star in their own YouTube video.
They are called “Carrybees” and are made by Nissan subsidiary Aichikikai Techno System. A cross between apparatus and apparition, and around foot high, the Carrybees usually deliver parts to the line, while singing a loud an happy tune. They do this all by themselves, guided by a magnetic strip taped to the factory floor.
Allegedly, the tunes they play, rather loudly, are not for the own entertainment of the little machines, but to warn people of an approaching Carrybee. In case the folks are hard of hearing, sensors make the Carrybee stop after it makes contact with a shin.
The Carrybees run off a lithium battery good for an 8 hour shift. The more intelligent Carrybees are ideal for corporate life: When reaching their lows, they automatically find someone to suck up to, and to recharge their battery. Aichikikai makes about 400 Carrybees a year, to supply and entertain workers at major OEMs such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, General Motors, Volkswagen, Fiat and Hyundai.
According to Nissan’s Dan Sloan, “CarryBees may add Kraftwerk’s ‘Fun, fun, fun on the Autobahn’ in the next song mix.” Surely, he jests.