AIST Stories No1
27/36

AIST in present day living! 25at a glanceTerminologyAiming for a “robot that is useful onsite” Repeated improvementsThere is a good reason why great expectations are held of robots. In task planning at the accident sites, preparations must be made including assigning tasks to specific individuals as well as stipulating the number of minutes that work can be carried out in specific locations. In other words, if radiation levels are not accurately known, plans can neither be made for radiation dose reduction measures, nor repairs. Until now the situation at high locations within building was not sufficiently elucidated; through the current survey, the probability has been raised that future recovery work will make significant progress.Needless to say, robots developed in Japan and overseas have been deployed in the past, but nuclear plants were designed assuming that people would work in them; thus, carrying out tasks in nuclear plants by using large robots is not that easy. For example, the Japanese rescue robot “Quince” deployed in June 2011 successfully measured radiation and filmed the vicinity of the spent fuel storage pool but because the width of the stairs was narrower than the width of the crawler, the original objective of descending underground to carry out a survey was not possible. In addition, its cables were severed, which meant that it could not return and to this day, it remains stranded onsite.Based on this precedent, AIST focused on making certain that its robot could reach the target location and moreover be able to return to the starting location. To this end, the vehicle is based on a high performance crawler with remote operation capability. Kazuhito Yokoi, who was involved with the development of this high-access survey robot, explains as follows:“While referring to previous examples, this robot was completed through repeated improvements in order to be useful onsite. Wireless control is not possible within the building, so communication is via cable, but the robot is also equipped with wireless. This redundancy was adopted because if the cables were severed, it is possible that the robot stranded onsite could communicate with other robots and return from its stranded location. In addition, the cable length is 400 m even the distance to the survey area was less than 200 m and if it got caught on something, the remainder could be drawn out, thus enabling a return to base.”The arm component was designed so that it could work in confined spaces between installed piping.The high-access survey robot has already been deployed at Fukushima twice to carry out radiation dose measurements and surveys. Yokoi has visited the site and by observing the robot in actual operation, proceeded with further improvements to resolve the issues he came across, as well as add new functions in his efforts to support Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).“TEPCO has indicated its desire to use the robot in moving forward. I would like to contribute through development of robots that will in their own small way enable progress in handling of the accident.”Survey of reactor building by high-access survey robotThe first survey (STEP1: June 18, 2013) was of the upper reaches of the building, while the second one (STEP2: July 23, 2013) was in the vicinity of a PCV (Pressure Containment Vessel) penetration in a high location. The photos below show the upper walls of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 2 reactor building as verified from the findings of the first survey. Source: Material disclosed on TEPCO websiteSTEP1STEP2DuctDuctMaximum approx. 2mMaximum approx.5mPenetrationImpact in the following fields! Community lifeIndustry◦Disaster prevention◦ Safety and security◦Social infrastructure◦ Machinery, robotsDeputy Director, Intelligent Systems Research InstituteKazuhito YokoiArea surveyed by the robotFilming location 3: Upper wall (4.0 m height from the floor)Filming location 5: Wall (3.5 m height from the floor)Filming location 4: Upper wall (4.0 m height from the floor)Filming location 5: Upper wall gap (4.3 m height from the floor)AIST in present day living! 25at a glanceTerminologyAiming for a “robot that is useful onsite” Repeated improvementsThere is a good reason why great expectations are held of robots. In task planning at the accident sites, preparations must be made including assigning tasks to specific individuals as well as stipulating the number of minutes that work can be carried out in specific locations. In other words, if radiation levels are not accurately known, plans can neither be made for radiation dose reduction measures, nor repairs. Until now the situation at high locations within building was not sufficiently elucidated; through the current survey, the probability has been raised that future recovery work will make significant progress.Needless to say, robots developed in Japan and overseas have been deployed in the past, but nuclear plants were designed assuming that people would work in them; thus, carrying out tasks in nuclear plants by using large robots is not that easy. For example, the Japanese rescue robot “Quince” deployed in June 2011 successfully measured radiation and filmed the vicinity of the spent fuel storage pool but because the width of the stairs was narrower than the width of the crawler, the original objective of descending underground to carry out a survey was not possible. In addition, its cables were severed, which meant that it could not return and to this day, it remains stranded onsite.Based on this precedent, AIST focused on making certain that its robot could reach the target location and moreover be able to return to the starting location. To this end, the vehicle is based on a high performance crawler with remote operation capability. Kazuhito Yokoi, who was involved with the development of this high-access survey robot, explains as follows:“While referring to previous examples, this robot was completed through repeated improvements in order to be useful onsite. Wireless control is not possible within the building, so communication is via cable, but the robot is also equipped with wireless. This redundancy was adopted because if the cables were severed, it is possible that the robot stranded onsite could communicate with other robots and return from its stranded location. In addition, the cable length is 400 m even the distance to the survey area was less than 200 m and if it got caught on something, the remainder could be drawn out, thus enabling a return to base.”The arm component was designed so that it could work in confined spaces between installed piping.The high-access survey robot has already been deployed at Fukushima twice to carry out radiation dose measurements and surveys. Yokoi has visited the site and by observing the robot in actual operation, proceeded with further improvements to resolve the issues he came across, as well as add new functions in his efforts to support Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).“TEPCO has indicated its desire to use the robot in moving forward. I would like to contribute through development of robots that will in their own small way enable progress in handling of the accident.”Survey of reactor building by high-access survey robotThe first survey (STEP1: June 18, 2013) was of the upper reaches of the building, while the second one (STEP2: July 23, 2013) was in the vicinity of a PCV (Pressure Containment Vessel) penetration in a high location. The photos below show the upper walls of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 2 reactor building as verified from the findings of the first survey. Source: Material disclosed on TEPCO websiteSTEP1STEP2DuctDuctMaximum approx. 2mMaximum approx.5mPenetrationImpact in the following fields! Community lifeIndustry◦Disaster prevention◦ Safety and security◦Social infrastructure◦ Machinery, robotsDeputy Director, Intelligent Systems Research InstituteKazuhito YokoiArea surveyed by the robotFilming location 3: Upper wall (4.0 m height from the floor)Filming location 5: Wall (3.5 m height from the floor)Filming location 4: Upper wall (4.0 m height from the floor)Filming location 5: Upper wall gap (4.3 m height from the floor)

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