Robotics R&D base fully opens in Minamisoma as part of innovation scheme

The Fukushima Robot Test Field, a government-funded robotics research and development base, fully opened in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 31, alongside a related facility in neighboring Namie. The complex, comprising the R&D hub and a runway for unmanned aerial drones in Namie, is situated in a coastal region devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. It is intended to be a core project in the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework for international industry-academia-government cooperation. R&D will focus on robots and drones used in logistics, inspection of infrastructure facilities and disaster management, among other purposes. It will probe four areas -- unmanned aircraft, undersea/sea-surface robots, infrastructure inspection/disaster response, and fundamental development -- and facilitate experiments based on onshore, offshore and aerial scenarios. A research-focused building is the main hub where 16 entities, including the University of Aizu, in Aizuwakamatsu, have laboratory offices. (Translated by Kyodo News)