Disaster relief presents tough challenges. People who take part in relief efforts have to take care about not ending up in a bad situation themselves. Robots don’t face this dilemma which is why we can expect them to play a greater role in relief efforts as the technology advances significantly in the future. Honda has shown off a working prototype of its disaster response robot which is capable of climbing ladders and stairs.
Honda first unveiled its concept for the E2-DR robot in an R&D paper published back in 2015. It has now demonstrated a working prototype of that robot.
Measuring 1.68 meters high and weighing 85 kgs, the robot is capable of walking, stepping over objects, climbing ladders and stairs, and even finding its way through the debris. It’s even capable of withstanding rain for 20 minutes straight. It can stand up if it’s knocked down. Additional gear includes 3D sensors and cameras integrated with the robot’s hands.
Honda was able to keep the size and weight of the robot down by using optical fibers instead of conventional cables. It also attached a 1000-Wh lithium-ion battery to the robot which can power it for 90 minutes.
Honda says that this robot is only a prototype and a lot of work is still required before it can serve any real purpose. It still requires a human behind the controls so it’s going to be a long time before robots are truly able to do all of this without active human interaction.