Honda E2-DR robot prototype is designed for disaster scenarios

Honda has showcased a prototype robot called E2-DR, and it is designed for disaster scenarios. There are certain requirements a disaster response robot must meet, dexterity being among them. Honda's new robot prototype demonstrates such abilities, performing actions like a climbing a ladder on video for everyone to see.

The prototype was recently demonstrated on video by Honda R&D, which also published a paper titled Development of Experimental Legged Robot for Inspection and Disaster Response in Plants. The plants in that case refer to manufacturing plants, e.g. factories. To operate in environments like that, a robot must possess the ability to operate with 3D movements, such as climbing a vertical ladder or climbing up a step ladder.

In addition, a disaster scenario robot should be able to climb over pipes and on debris, make its way through doors, pass through tight spaces, and even handle a loss of power while on something like a ladder without catastrophically falling. To perform some of these actions, E2-DR is capable of things like rotating its torso 180-degrees, grasping bars, adjusting its hips, walking in a human-like manner, and more.

Of course, a robot also needs to have some sort of vision capabilities, and Honda solved that issue by using a pair of Hokuyo laser rangefinders alongside a couple flight cameras, a single monocular camera, plus a stereo camera that works with an IR light projector. Each hand is equipped with a 3D sensor, as well as additional cameras.

Disaster situations also present an adverse environment more often than not, and so Honda made its robot capable of handling a variety of issues including moisture, dust, and relatively extreme temperatures. The bot's joints were made to keep debris out, and the entire structure has a specific cooling technology to keep the robot from getting too hot.