What is 5.5 feet tall and capable of passing through gaps as narrow as 11.8 inches?

Answer: The prototype of Honda's new disaster relief robot.

by / October 4, 2017

In 2015, Honda revealed research papers for a bipedal disaster relief robot. Two years later, a new paper unveils the latest prototype named E2-DR. Designed to be flexible, strong and waterproof all at the same time, E2-DR can climb vertical ladders, step over a pipe as large as 200 mm, and walk through rainfall of up to 26 mm an hour for 20 minutes at a speed of 2 km an hour.

Honda was able to reduce the robot’s size by using fiber-optic communication cables, as opposed to standard ones. It stands at 5.5 feet tall, weighs 187 pounds and is only 9.8 inches thick, allowing it to pass through spaces as narrow as 11.8 inches. It can operate in temperatures ranging from 14 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a battery life of 90 minutes.

E2-DR is equipped with two laser rangefinders in its head, several cameras including 3-D ones in each hand, and an infrared light projector. But this model is only a prototype, and Honda says that there is a lot of work to be done yet before its disaster relief robot hits the streets.