Problems of radio communication must be resolved 2011.04.23

A topic from discussions in ROBOTAD

Yoshihiko Nakamura, Anchorman

The US robotics companies, Quinetiq and iRobot, who sent their robots, Talon and Packbot, respectively for the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, request the solution for the radio signal regulation problem regarding the operation of US robots on site. Dr. Ryan Pettigrew (vice-president of Boston branch office of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society) who heard of the request at a meeting in Boston asked Dr. Kazuhiro Kosuge (Professor of Tohoku University, and the president of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society)  for the support by Japanese officials.

The radio signal for communication is mandatory to be licenced by the Telecommunications Bureau in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. It is not yet clear whether the US robots require the approval of powerful signal unauthorized in Japan but authorized in the US, or the millitary-use frequency band. There appeared a problem on their radio communication. The issue is particularly important to be solved, not only for using the US robots in Japan, but for determining many other robot systems to be used.

Multiple frequency bands have been used in the Unmanned Execution of the remote controlled construction robots. The control of communication frequency between robot systems seems well done at the Nuclear plant site where the unmanned construction robots have already been thrown in.The communication between operator and the robot is done either via the direct wireless device which covers the range of estimated 20 kilometers or via shorter range wireless transmitters placed close to the plant and hooked up to the control station via long-wired communication. It could also be possible to set a base station close to the site with the portable satellite antenna, currently located such at Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture or Kesen-numa City, Miyagi Prefecture, for the ultra-highspeed internet satellite “Kizuna” operated by JAXA. Any specific communication problems will pop up with the robots that enter and work inside the plant’s buildings. The radio communication issue remains important indeed.

One-stop-service should be placed to authorize on demand necessary communication by negotiating with the concerned bureaus. Technical information must be provided to engineer/researcher in robotics and else, about specifications of radio communication available on site by authorized.

After frequency and/or equipments are licensed, there must be engineers who reconfigure the protocol of the communication device through the discussion with engineers of the robots on site. It would be a role of the ROBOTAD to bridge between the volunteer communication engineers and the robotics engineers.


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