According to The Asahi Shimbun, a remote-controlled mobile robot that can safely work in flammable gas-filled spaces too dangerous for humans has been developed in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Chiba Institute of Technology.
The robot will be useful in confirming the situation at the sites of accidents in tunnels or conducting inspections at chemical plants and electric power plants, MHI and CIT officials said in Tokyo on July 12.
The robot has been safety certified and will not spark fire or explosions, even in places filled with flammable gas, they added.
To date, when accidents have occurred in tunnels and flammable gases have leaked, workers have had to install ventilation devices before going into the tunnels and confirm concentrations of gas with detectors.
The newly developed robot, however, can investigate the situations inside the tunnels immediately.
The robot is equipped with monitoring cameras, lighting equipment and a gas detector, and can take images and transmit them through the Internet. It can work continuously for up to two and a half hours on lithium-ion batteries.
It will be priced in the 20 to 30 million yen range (US$192,000 to US$288,000) and will also be sold overseas. MHI and CIT plan to secure similar safety certifications in other countries.
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