“We aim to save approximately 30% of labor in these operations and eliminate work-related accidents such as electric shocks and falls,” the company states very clearly.
The purpose of the test is to develop a machine capable of replacing humans in certain tasks in the near future. However, in the present case, the man still has his place: he controls the robot-worker remotely. Equipped with a virtual reality headset and haptic handles, the operator has the feeling of carrying out maintenance operations himself. This technology reproduces the sense of touch as faithfully as possible, so it is perfectly suited for meticulous work.
This robot was developed by JR West in partnership with Human Machinery co. and Nippon Signal co. For the moment, it is still only a prototype, in the test phase, however the company hopes to put it into service at the beginning of the year 2024. And it evokes a large-scale commercialization if the tests are conclusive.
Japan is the world reference in the field of robotics. Particularly in the industry sector, and the country is now positioned as the leading producer and exporter of industrial robots.
In 1973, they designed the first humanoid robot capable of seeing, communicating, walking and grasping objects. A 2015 report from the Nomura Research Institute showed that 49% of Japanese jobs could be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence by 2035.
Today, Japan is emphasizing service robots in order to meet the challenges it faces. Indeed, Japanese society is aging (imbalance between fertility rate and mortality rate). The active population is in constant decline while the proportion of elderly people continues to grow. For future generations, the robot – humanoid or not – will be programmed to help and support humans, at home or at work.
In this perspective, Elon Musk, the multi-hatted CEO has confirmed that his human-sized robot, Optimus, would be presented at the event dedicated to artificial intelligence, AI Day. Initially scheduled for August, it will finally take place on September 30. A setback explained by Musk as necessary to reveal his robot in a “functional” way.