Honda Takes a Huge Technology Step with the Reveal of their New Robot

Honda has just unveiled the prototype for their newest E2-DR disaster response robot which can be a turning point in the technology automation progress

Just two years ago, in 2015, Honda has announced their idea of disaster response robot which they had called the ‘experimental new humanoid robot designed for disaster response’. You can check out their paper.

Honda was thinking of designing a humanoid that is robust, strong and practical, after all the incidents that had occurred such as the Fukushima. However, Honda did an amazing job in not talking about their projects until they have the ‘beta’ version. Last week at IROS 2017 in Vancouver, everybody was stunned with this project that Honda has been working on for the past two years.

In their paper called “Development of Experimental Legged Robot for Inspection and Disaster Response in Plants,” the experts from the company showed off the latest prototype of their disaster relief robot, the E2-DR. ‘It is strong and powerful, and it can even get rained on without exploding.’

Some of the assets of this robots are:

  • Three dimensional movement such as stairs, stepladders and vertical ladders with minimum size cages including transitions between ladders and steps
  • Moving in narrow free widths and narrow spaces
  • Moving over pipes on the floor
  • Passing through closed doors along corridors
  • Able to absorb contacts while moving
  • Moving upon scattered debris
  • Perception of environment for planning and monitoring
  • Prevention of catastrophic fall when robot loses power while moving in a high place such as stairs and ladders

Citation from: https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/iros-2017-honda-unveils-prototype-e2dr-disaster-response-robot

This is one heavy robot, as it weighs around 85 kilograms, is 1.68 meters high and can operate for 90 minutes on its battery-powered supply. It is only 25 cm thick, so it can go through some of the passages that are unavailable for a normal person, and it contains 33 places in which it can move; 8 for hands, 6 for legs, 2 for the torso and one for hands and head. They called these joints Degrees of Freedom (DoF).

For stair climbing, this robot can rotate its torso 180 degrees, which creates the effect of this robot moving backward (inversion of knees), so the knees themselves will not oppose any problem in climbing the stairs such as bumping into them, mechanically damaging the robot etc. 

Honda did a trade-off – standard communication cables were replaced with optical fibers, which get up to 8 times smaller and having just 0.5 mm in the diameter, creating the possibility of making this robot as slimmer as possible. They are less robust, but Honda reports they had done the testing of the cables, and that the cables do not have any problems in the robot itself.

Honda did a trade-off – standard communication cables were replaced with optical fibers, which get up to 8 times smaller and having just 0.5 mm in the diameter, creating the possibility of making this robot as slimmer as possible. They are less robust, but Honda reports they had done the testing of the cables, and that the cables do not have any problems in the robot itself.

The robot uses the latest technology, with the Intel i7 processor, DC-DC converters that use 226 watts on themselves. The Robot is able to operate in temperatures between -10 and 40 degrees Celsius, which makes it all round one of the best-automated solutions today.

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