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Keiji's Research : Volcano Exploration Robots


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 [MUAV] : Development of sensing technology for debris flow prediction with MUAVs

In this research, we aim at developing observation technologies of debris flow after volcano eruption using multiple units of multi-rotor MUAVs (Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). On Dec.8-9, 2014, verification tests of volcanic observation were conducted in Sakurajima-Island. In one of the test missions was to observe the active volcano crater. Our MUAV flew to the Showa crater (4km away from the departure point) based on the pre-determined path and returned within 20 minutes. In addition, 3D terrain map was generated by many 2D high-resolution photos based on Structure From Motion (SFM) technique. Smart3Dcapture, commercially available software, was used for the purpose. This video clip includes the above topics and soil-sampling experiment using multi-rotor UAV. (Mar. 2015)
Paper:


 [Strawberry2] : Sample-Return Device for Obtaining Volcaniclastic Materials
Our research group have been developing a roller type sample-return device, which was hanging down from a multi-rotor UAV, and carried out indoor experiments and outdoor field tests. Through the experiments, we found that some issues were uncovered. Therefore, in this research, we developed a new sampling device to solve them. In this video clip, we introduce our recent developed devices, and report outdoor experiments in Mt. Asama. (ϣ., 2014)
Paper: Development and Field Testing of UAV-based Sampling Devices for Obtaining Volcanic Products, Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Int'l Workshop on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics, #27 (2014-10)

 [Zion+CLOVER] : Robotic Observations in a volcanos using UAV and UGV in Mt.Asama
Observation of an active volcano is very important to determine a strategy for estimating its eruptive activity and providing residents with an evacuation warning. Therefore, we have been conducting field tests of robotic observations in a volcanic area using a multi-rotor UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and a small ground robot. In this videoclip, we introduce our recent field test of cooperative motion between UAV and small UGV in Sept, 2014, on Mt. Asama. It is almost the same as the demonstration in Sept. 2013, shown the below. It used tether landing to improve its safety, and completed automatic delivering of the small ground robot. The ground robot was tele-operated 3km far away from the robot (Oct., 2014)
Paper:

 [CLOVER] : Teleoperating mobile robots via a hybrid communication system
When an active volcano erupts, it is important to observe in the area for forecasting debris flood and/or a pyroclastic flow for inhabitants. However, typically, a restricted area is set, such as within a few kilometers radius of the crater. Therefore, we proposed an observation system based on a tele-operated mobile robot via radio communication in active volcanoes. To evaluate the system, we conducted some field tests via 3G communication in Mt. Asama and Mt. Mihara etc. During the experiments, we faced some critical situations that the robot stopped all motion because of weakness of communication signal of 3G. To solve the problem, in this research, we developed a hybrid connection system with multi-robots that is composed of two radio communication lines. In this movieclip, we explain how the system works, introduce our new robots equipped with the system, and report some operation tests on them. (June., 2014)
Paper: Teleoperation of mobile robots using hybrid communication system in unreliable radio communication environments,Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Int'l Workshop on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics, #20 (2014-10)

 [Strawberry1] : Sample-Return Device for Obtaining Volcaniclastic Materials
When an active volcano erupts, typically, a restricted area is set around the crater for safety. However, it is important to observe inside of the restricted area for a forecast of disasters, such as debris flow. There are some proposals of visual observation methods in restricted areas, e.g. a tele-operated mobile ground robot with cameras. However, there is no sample-return method for obtaining volcaniclastic materials from such restricted areas. Therefore, in this research, we developed a sample-return device, called strawberry, which was hanging down from a multi-rotor UAV. In this video clip, we introduce our developed devices, and report indoor and outdoor experiments. (Apr., 2014)
Paper:

 [Zion+CLOVER] : Robotic Observations in a volcanos using UAV and UGV in Mt.Asama
Observation of an active volcano is very important to determine a strategy for estimating its eruptive activity and providing residents with an evacuation warning. In this research, we proposed robotic observations in a volcanic area after an eruption using a multi-rotor UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and a small ground robot. In this videoclip, we introduce our cooperative demonstration between UAV and small UGV in Sept, 2013, in Mt. Asama. It used tether landing to improve its safety, and completed automatic delivering of the small ground robot. The ground robot was tele-operated 3km far away from the robot. (Sept., 2013)
Paper:
Volcanic Ash Observation in Active Volcano Areas using Teleoperated Mobile Robots --Introduction to Our Robotic-Volcano-Observation Project and Field Experiments--'',Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE Int'l Workshop on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics (2013-10)

 [Zion+CLOVER] : Robotic Observations in a volcanos using a UAV and a small UGV
Observation of an active volcano is very important to determine a strategy for estimating its eruptive activity and providing residents with an evacuation warning. In this research, we proposed robotic observations in a volcanic area after an eruption using a multi-rotor UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and a small ground robot. Field experiments are effective at promoting this type of research and development. Therefore, we performed several field experiments at volcanic places. In this videoclip, we introduce our cooperative demonstration between UAV and small UGV in March, 2013, in Mt. Shinmoe-dake. (March, 2013)
Paper:
Keiji Nagatani,Takahiro Noyori, Kazuya Yoshida,``Development of Multi-D.O.F. Tracked Vehicle to Traverse Weak Slope and Climb up Rough Slope'',2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (2013-11)

 [PTZ Camera] : Development of a Portable Camera System for Long Term Observation
 We developed a portable camera system to observe a natural dam or volcano area from remote area. In this videoclip, we explain the camera system and report a result of long term observation test using the system in Mt. Asama area. (Dec. 2012)

Paper:
Akiyama et. al, SI2012 (Japanese)
 
 [TOBI] : Development of a multi-rotor UAV in high-altitude flight
To explore in volcano areas, we have a scenario that a multi-rotor UAV transports a small robot in its restricted area. However, in high-altitude flight, thrust generated by rotors is smaller than that at sea level. Therefore, we developed the prototype UAV, named TOBI. It has a sufficient ability to transport 1.5 kg payload at high-altitude condition a.s.l. 1,000[m]. In this videoclip, we demonstrated TOBI's flight to confirm its usefulness for transportation of a small robot in a volcano area. (Oct. 2012)

Paper:
Otsuka et. al, Robomec2013 (Japanese)
 
[Tobi & GeoStar] : Cooperative robotic system for volcano observation
An observation of an active volcano is very important to work out a strategy for estimation of eruptive activity and evacuation call to residents. However, it is a too dangerous task for human to install cameras during eruptive activity. Therefore, we proposed a robotic observation in volcano area, and performed several field tests to realize an observation system. The videoclip shows a simple demonstration of the cooperative robotic system between the light-weight wheeled mobile robot, called GeoStar, and the flying robot, called Tobi, for volcano observation. (Oct. 2012)

Paper:
Keiji Nagatani et. al, SI2012 (Japanese)
 
[GeoStar] : Development of light-weight wheeled robots, "GeoStar" series
 An observation of an active volcano is very important to work out a strategy for estimation of eruptive activity and evacuation call to residents. However, it is a too dangerous task for human to install cameras during eruptive activity. Therefore, we proposed a robotic observation in volcano area, and performed several field tests to realize an observation system. The videoclip shows field tests using small light-weight wheeled robots, called GeoStar. In the first scene, GeoStar-II is tele-operated from 3km away using cellar phone's communication, which is called FOMA in Japan. The next scene is a demonstration between the GeoStar-mini and the flying robot, TOBI. In the last scene, GeoStar-III is tele-operated from Izu-Oshima Onsen Hotel using FOMA communication. It was navigated in total 2,300 m to the Mt. Kushigata. (Oct. 2012)
 
[TrackWalker-II] : Volcano exploration robot, TrackWalker-II in Mt. Mihara
 We developed an improved version of TrackWalker, called TrackWalker-II, that had low center of gravity, and longer tracks. To validate the mechanism, we conducted outdoor experiments in Mt. Mihara in Nov. 2011. In the field experiment, the robot traversed abot 460m on a climbing route of Mt. Mihara (angle:15-25 deg, difference of elevation:85m) and climbed weak and steep slope (32 deg) on Ura-Sabaku. (Nov. 2011)
 
   
 [TrackWalker-II] : Volcano exploration robot, TrackWalker-II in Mt. Asama 
We developed a new locomotion mechanism, called TrackWalker in 2010. It consisted of three track modules. It mounts six actuators: three motors for standard tracked locomotion, two motors for sub-tracks' motion to change mounting angles, and one motor for simple legged motion. We conducted outdoor experiments in Mt.Asama in 2010, and we found some problems. Therefore, in 2011, we developed improved version of TrackWalker, called TrackWalker-II, that had low center of gravity, and longer tracks. To validate the mechanism, we conducted outdoor experiments in Mt. Asama again in Oct. 2011. In the field experiment, the robot traversed about 700m on a weak and steep slope (angle: 15-30deg, difference of elevation:160m). (Oct. 2011)

Paper:
Ken Akiyama et. al. SI2011 (Japanese)
 
 [TrackWalker] : Volcano exploration robot, TrackWalker 
A performance of track mechanism is much better than wheeled mechanism on loose soil, typically. However, it sometimes slips while traversing slopes comprising loose soil. To realize high mobility on weak soil, we developed a new locomotion mechanism, referred to as surface-contact-type locomotion, called BladeWalker. However, it has the disadvantage of low mobility on irregular terrain. To solve the problem of the above trade-off, we developed the leg-track hybrid locomotion mechanism by fusing the two locomotion mechanisms. It consists of three track modules. It mounts six actuators: three motors for standard tracked locomotion, two motors for sub-tracks' motion to change mounting angles, and one motor for simple legged motion. To validate the mechanism, we conducted outdoor experiments in Mt. Asama. (Oct. 2010)

Paper:
Keiji Nagatani, Hiroaki Kinoshita, Kazuya Yoshida, Kenjiro Tadakuma, Eiji Koyanagi,``Development of leg-track hybrid locomotion to traverse loose slopes and irregular terrain'',Journal of Field Robotics,Volume 28, Issue 6, pp.950-960 (2011-11)
 
 
 [BladeWalker] : Exploration on weak ground, BladeWalker 
To realize high mobility on weak soil, we developed a new locomotion mechanism, referred to as surface-contact-type locomotion. It uses a simple legged mechanism that has a wide contact area with the ground so as not to corrupt the contact surface. The concept was inherited to the trackwalker. (Feb. 2009)

Paper:
Keiji Nagatani, Hiroaki Kinoshita, Kazuya Yoshida, Kenjiro Tadakuma, Eiji Koyanagi,``Development of leg-track hybrid locomotion to traverse loose slopes and irregular terrain'',Journal of Field Robotics,Volume 28, Issue 6, pp.950-960 (2011-11)
Kinoshita et. al, Robomec2009 (Japanese)
 

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