October 19, 2017
With the increase in occurrences of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados and fires, there is a real need for technology that can help with relief efforts. Honda has developed a prototype disaster relief humanoid robot, E2-DR. The robot is a bipedal model with flexible joints that can walk at 2km/h. The head of the robot is made up of hokuyo laser rangefinders with flight cameras, a single monocular camera, plus a stereo camera that works with an IR light projector.
The designers have thought of specific movements and skills that a robot may need in disaster conditions. E2-DR is waterproof, can work in extreme temperatures, climb ladders and crawl around obstacles and debris. It can also use its sensors to “see” in poor lighting conditions. With a battery life of an hour and a half, the robot can work for a long period of time. The robot is only 5’5” and is 187 pounds, allowing it to easily maneuver through a disaster site.
E2-DR was on display at last month’s IEEE/Robotics Society of Japan International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, whose theme was “Friendly People, Friendly Robots.”