A commercial laboratory robot system (Zymate PyTechnology II Laboratory Automation System) was interfaced to standard and custom laboratory equipment and programmed to perform rapid radiochemical assays necessary for plasma input function determination in quantitative PET studies in humans and baboons. A Zymark XP robot arm was used to carry out two assays: (1) the determination of total plasma radioactivity concentrations in a series of small-volume whole blood samples and (2) the determination of unchanged (parent) radiotracer in plasma using only solid phase extraction methods. Steady state robotic throughput for determination of total plasma radioactivity in whole blood samples (0.350 mL) is 14.3 samples/h, which includes automated centrifugation, pipetting, weighing and radioactivity counting. Robotic throughput for the assay of parent radiotracer in plasma is 4-6 samples/h depending on the radiotracer. Percents of total radioactivities present as parent radiotracers at 60 min, postinjection of 25 +/- 5.0 (N = 25), 26 +/- 6.8 (N = 68), 13 +/- 4.4 (N = 30), 32 +/- 7.2 (N = 18), 16 +/- 4.9 (N = 20), were obtained for carbon-11 labeled benztropine, raclopride, methylphenidate, SR 46349B (trans, 4-[(3Z)3-(2-dimethylamino-ethyl) oxyimino-3 (2-fluorophenyl)propen-1-yl]phenol), and cocaine respectively in baboon plasma and 84 +/- 6.4 (N = 9), 18 +/- 11 (N = 10), 74 +/- 5.7 (N = 118) and 16 +/- 3.7 (N = 18) for carbon-11 labeled benztropine, deprenyl, raclopride, and methylphenidate respectively in human plasma. The automated system has been used for more than 4 years for all plasma analyses for 7 different C-11 labeled compounds used routinely in our laboratory. The robotic radiotracer assay runs unattended and includes automated cleanup procedures that eliminates all human contact with plasma-contaminated containers.