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Japan Railways Introduces Infrastructure Robots! It supports remote operations at a height of 40 kg

发布时间:2024-07-10 11:47:43  

West Japan Railways (West JR), one of the six companies of the Japan Railways Group, recently launched a giant "humanoid robot" designed to operate heavy machinery and equipment on its lines. This innovation is designed to address the labor shortage in the field of infrastructure maintenance.

Japan Railways Introduces Infrastructure Robots! Supports remote operation at a height of 40 kg and 12 m (fig. 1)

Robots like "Robot Story" operate on West Japan Railway's test track. Image source: West Japan Railway Company

New Heavy Machinery: A versatile tool for the maintenance of railway equipment

Described as "a multi-functional railway heavy machine for railway equipment maintenance," the as-yet-unnamed tool is based on a prototype previously used by West Japan Railway to validate the concept of the peculiar-looking machine. The robot was developed in collaboration with robotics developer Jinki Ittai Co and infrastructure IT and electrical company Nippon Signal Co.
West Japan Railway said that the construction of this project was imperative due to the severe labor shortage faced by infrastructure maintenance work, which is not limited to the railway sector. The new "heavy equipment" is carried by a railway engineering vehicle with a control room and a robot on a retractable boom.

Powerful and flexible

This robot is mainly used to reach overhead power lines to fix problems remotely. It can carry loads of up to 40 kg and can be operated remotely at an altitude of 12 meters above the ground. The robot has been likened to the Disney-Pixar movie character "Robot Story" and is operated by an engineer in a control room. "In addition, the weight and recoil experienced by the robot are fed back to the operator, enabling intuitive operation," says West Japan Railway. This makes the operation skills easy to learn. "Operators can observe the task they are performing through a VR headset connected to a camera in the robot's "eyes".

Improve security and productivity

West Japan Railway notes that the new equipment will significantly improve safety, reduce the number of people who need to climb overhead catenary, and reduce the labor required for most tasks by at least 30 percent. The new equipment will also be used to cut down trees, clear obstacles, paint infrastructure, and replace or repair signaling hardware.

The rail infrastructure manager added that this mechanization process will greatly contribute to the elimination of workplace accidents caused by electric shocks or falls, while also improving overall safety. West Japan Railway also stated, "Since humans do not need to engage in high-altitude heavy physical labor, people of all genders and ages can work, which will create a diverse work environment for human resources." ”

The introduction of this robot technology not only demonstrates West Japan Railway's forward-looking vision of technological innovation, but also provides a safe and efficient solution for global infrastructure maintenance.

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