A Japanese company has transformed the function of service robotics by introducing a massive, humanoid maintenance robot.
The West Japan Rail Company, also known as JR West, is now using a humongous Gundam-style robot to fix remote railway power lines. That’s not even all. The robot is piloted by an actual human wearing a VR setup!
It has a giant barrel-chested torso mounted on a hydraulic crane arm. This powerful arm can be lifted up to 32 feet in the air, this maintenance robot’s head looks a bit like Pixar character “WALL-E” and moves in tandem with the motions of its human pilot who tells it where to look and what to do.
At this moment, this robot developed by the JR West in tandem with the Nippon Signal railway signal technology company is just a prototype and won’t be put to work widely until 2024. Nevertheless, it’s a huge leap for the industry of service robots, which up until now have mostly freaked people out as they chase them through stores — or worse, assist with police arrests and border patrolling.
Though it was made by the rail industry, there’s little doubt that once it’s available for purchase, other markets will be interested in getting in on the action.