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Takanishi Laboratory (Faculty of Science and Engineering) uses smartphones and cloud service to develop an autonomous mobile environment monitoring robot

The Atsuo Takanishi Laboratory (Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University) and Japan Robotech Ltd. (Head Office in Fukuoka City) joint developed an inexpensive environment monitoring robot equipped with a smartphone, and is capable of remote operation and autonomous movement. The robot is expected to be used to survey hazardous materials such as airborne radiation and PM2.5.

Environment monitoring robot which can be remotely operated using 3G network and LTE transmission

Lecturer Hiroyuki Ishii (Research Institute for Science and Engineering) gives a technical explanation at a press conference.

Large-scale environmental monitoring poses the risk of destroying the environment due to the installation and introduction of equipment. On the other hand, small-scale monitoring makes it difficult to conduct a sufficient survey of the area. Use of the newly-developed robot makes it possible to gather a variety of environmental information while keeping environmental load to an absolute minimum.

6 elliptical wheels enable the robot to traverse uneven terrain such as mountains and forests. The robot is capable of negotiating surfaces with a maximum height differential of approximately 18 centimeters. It uses a smartphone and various sensors to gather environmental information such as photographs of the area or radiation levels. The robot can perform environmental monitoring while automatically repeating movement patterns and measurements. Additionally, remote operation is performed using mobile phone networks, making it possible to operate the robot overseas from Japan as long as 3G network and LTE transmission is supported. Furthermore, by using cloud services such as Google Drive, it is possible for multiple users to utilize the gathered data.

In order to make the robot feasible, efforts were made to reduce manufacturing and operation costs. After conducting demonstration experiments in Japan and overseas, the robot will be introduced to municipal governments and groups conducting environmental monitoring.

Demonstration of remote operation from Germany

At a press conference held on August 22nd, a smartphone was used to operate the autonomous mobile environment monitoring robot from overseas. A member of Professor Takanishi’s research team in Germany used a smartphone as a controller and conducted a demonstration of remote operation for the compact environmental survey robot. The demonstration showed that nimble maneuvering is possible even when controlled overseas. A demonstration was also held in Okuma Garden, where the robot used its 6 wheels to skillfully navigate difficult terrain.

Robot exterior and specifications

Robot exterior and specifications ©Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University Atsuo Takanishi Laboratory & Japan Robotech Ltd.


Atsuo Takanishi Laboratory