AIST Stories No1

Intelligent Systems Research InstituteFrom AIST to the Innovative World24AIST and Honda develop robot Survey started at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power StationMore than two years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake and now in 2013, a complete resolution to the accident remains a long way away.Work is proceeding at a snail’s pace on account of, needless to say, a radioactive contamination zone that makes it dangerous for humans to approach. The annual permitted exposure for a worker has been set at fifty millisieverts; for this reason, if carried out in areas with high levels of radiation, work must be stopped within just 10 to 15 minutes. Workers who have reached the dose standard can no longer enter and a large number of backup workers are thus required. Therefore, robots that can take the place of workers and carry out their tasks are called for.In this situation, in June 2013, the high-access survey robot, jointly developed by AIST and Honda, started work in the Unit 2 reactor building of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Honda took charge of development of the survey arm as it possessed technology capable of simultaneously controlling multiple joints through the development of ASIMO, its humanoid robot. AIST took charge of the high-area accessible crawler type work platform and the remote control technology.In June 2013, the high-access survey robot carried out work in high locations in the first floor of the building that could not be surveyed previously. Using remote control, the arm was extended into narrow confines and the structure was verified; the robot also identified whether there were any obstacles that would hinder recovery work. Further, onsite radiation levels were measured. This news was reported in national newspapers such as the Asahi Shimbun and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, as well as specialist newspapers such as the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun and the Denki Shimbun (Electric Daily News), indicating the scale of expectations.High-access survey robotDimensions when moving are 0.8 m in width, 1.8 m in height, and 1.8 m in length but when operating in high locations, its height reaches a maximum of 7 m. The arm itself moves with 11 degrees of freedom and its length is 1.7 m; mounted on it are a camera, dosimeter, and laser range finder (LRF). The robot weights 1.1 t, and can operate for approximately five hours on a single battery charge.Environmental survey of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station by high-access survey robotRobot rises to the challenge of surveying an extreme environment unapproachable by humansRobot developed by AIST and Honda contributes to recovery effortsHigh-access survey robots that can unfailingly return to their starting point are expected to be able to assess the situation in high locations within the nuclear reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station; up to now, adequate surveys of such locations have not been possible, in particular for such aspects as the radiation levels in high locations and the extent and nature of damage. Knowing the situation accurately, and enabling the accident to be addressed has the potential to greatly advance work directed at reactor decommissioning.AIST in present day living! Our life and society will change in this way!