Japan's New Rescue Robot

December 14, 2016

As part of the Impulsing Paradigm Challenge through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT)’s Tough Robotics Challenge Program, a group of research leaders at Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a prototype of a construction robot for disaster relief situations. The group's prototype drastically improves operability and mobility compared to conventional construction machines.

The ImPACT group sought to develop construction robots for disaster relief  to solve situations particular to disaster relief situations. The ImPACT prototype's performance was tested in places similar to actual disaster sites.

And while the prototype machine looks like an ordinary hydraulic shovel, it brings highly precise strength to the job and provides feedback resistance data to remote locations.

Robot technology developed by the Japanese group includes:

  • Technology for quickly and stably controlling heavy power machines with high inertia by achieving target values regarding location and speed through fine tuning and by controlling pressures on a cylinder at high speeds.
  • Machine control technology that estimates the external load of multiple degree of freedom (DOF) hydraulically-driven robot from oil pressure of each hydraulic cylinder. The estimated force will be used for force control or force feedback to the operator of tele-operated rescue robots.
  • Sensors that measure high frequency vibration installed at the end effector of the robot that give the operator vibrotactile feedback.
  • Capability to fly a multi-rotor unmanned aircraft vehicle UAV (“drone”) to the place of the operator’s choice and obtaining image information. Long flights and pin-point landing of the drone are available due to power supply through electric lines and a power-feeding helipad for tethering the drone.
  • A four-way fish-eye camera mounted on the robot that show the operator real time images of the area so the operator can assess the area surrounding the robot.
  • An far-infrared ray camera that sees long-wavelength light that allows the operator to use the robot even under bad weather conditions like fog.

The ImPACT group is also working on new robots with a double rotation mechanism and double arms with the purpose of achieving higher operability and terrain adaptability. Read more about the project here: