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Honda's agile disaster robot crawl and squeeze through tight places
(04/Oct/2017)
In its secretive R&D department, Honda has been developing a bipedal disaster robot designed to climb through crumbled buildings.
 
Honda unveiled the prototypical E2-DR robot last week at the 2017 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Vancouver, reports IEEE Spectrum. As the Honda video shows, the E2-DR robot can climb ladders, ascend stairs, crawl through tight spaces, and manipulate its body to squeeze through cracks. 
 
The five and a half-foot tall E2-DR is specifically designed to enter extreme environments that humans can't — or shouldn't. According to Honda, these robots will act as first responders "in social infrastructures, such as plants," as they'll be mostly immune to toxic chemicals and noxious air. The robots are also slash-proof, dust-proof, and can withstand water.
 
For now, these disaster robots won't think for themselves. A robot that could autonomously perform search and rescue missions would require extremely sophisticated artificial intelligence. For this reason, the robots are designed to be remotely operated by humans. The E2-DR prototype is still connected to a tether, but it's conceivable that a future version of the robot will be controlled wirelessly, as the machine must wind through collapsed and chaotic environments. 
 
Honda didn't say when an E2-DR disaster robot might be ready for deployment into actual disaster scenarios, according to IEEE Specturm. But if Honda ever does ever realize its secretive robotic vision, the agile robots seem like they'll be perpetually useful: earthquakes, tsunami, and hurricanes won't ever go away.

Video(s):

Website(s):
- www.mashable.com


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