AI News, Japan Earthquake: More Robots to the Rescue

Japan Earthquake: More Robots to the Rescue

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing news coverage of Japan's earthquake and nuclear emergency.

Japanese roboticists plan to use the KOHGA3 ground robot (shown here during a test) to inspect a collapsed building in Hachinohe, in the northeastern portion of Honshu island.

Japan is mobilizing more robots to assist with rescue and recovery operations after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country last Friday.

A group led byProf.Eiji Koyanagi from Chiba Institute of Technologyreceived a request from a company in Kajima,in the Chiba Prefecture, eastern of Tokyo,for a robot that can inspect underwater infrastructure (the roboticists are not allowed to disclose the name of the company and the nature of the infrastructure).

Below is a video ofKOHGA3 during a recent exercise at Disaster City, a simulated collapsed town in College Station, Texas, and theworld's largest training facility for urban search and rescue.

The activities in Kajima and Hachinohe don't involve searching for survivors.They are recovery missions with the goal of ascertain damage and plan the next steps in terms of repairs and reconstruction.

Prof.Satoshi Tadokoro from Tohoku University and president of the International Rescue System Institutetells me he contacted the fire departments of Sendai and Kobe, as well as theMinistry of Trade and Industry's Tohoku Branch and various businesses, to inform that his team's robots are available for any kind of mission.

Tadokoro left Narita airport driving to his home in Sendai carrying on the trunk of his vehicle a tank-like ground robot called Quince and the Active Scope Camera, a remote-controlled snake-like robot.