Technology of Anti-Disaster Robotics (3)

Strategy in Robot Operation

Hajime Asama, Professor, the University of Tokyo

Various robots with capability of sensing, locomotion, manipulation, and the combination of them had been developed; many of them are functional.  Most of them were developed independently with unique system architecture, different functionality, performance, assumed operating conditions.  To effectively employ such robots in a mission, extensive survey on the operating condition, clarity of the task, and elaborate mission planning are necessary.  It should be noted that there will be cases with no existing robots giving feasible solution.

Control of the robots will mostly be from a remote site.  There are operation configurations as single robot, coordination of multiple robots, and robots assisting humans.As mentioned previously, one of the feature of the robot technology is to provide feasible solutions for given task under given condition by integrating and customizing existing technology, or developing new one if there is nothing usable.  Hence for the effective use of robot technology on a mission, it is of a high importance to perform recursion of operation, evaluation, and enhancement of the system. Similar process is observed in companies that have successfully integrated robots in their manufacturing lines.

In disaster control, this feedback process was carried out in improvements of user interfaces for robot operators in rescue squadrons.  Faster feedback loop in making improvements on the robot from the feedback of the on-site situation is vital in developing highly available anti-disaster robots.  Unfortunately, the effort on forming organizations that enable faster feedback loop was not necessarily enough in Japan.


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