Our five person, four marine robot team has arrived in Japan to assist the International Rescue Systems Institute (IRS) with inspecting damaged bridges, docks, and pipelines, as well as with victim recovery for five days. We’ll be experimenting with four different suitcase-sized remotely operated vehicles (ROV), smaller versions of the tethered ROVs used at the BP Oil Spill but just as capable.
Dr. Eric Steimle, AEOS, and Karen Dreger of the University of South Florida’s Center for Ocean Technology have brought a Seamor ROV with advanced imaging sonars and a smaller-than-a-soccer-ball AC-ROV with video. Sean Newsome and Jesse Rodocker have brought two Seabotix ROVs, the SARbot which is optimized for responders to put in the water in 3 minutes to save a person trapped underwater and the LBV-300-5, their powerful work horse ROV. I’ll profile each of the platforms in later blogs.
We are traveling with funding from the National Science Foundation (thanks!) and Continental and United- thanks to John Chapman and Hiro Donoshita have been extremely helpful with transporting the gear and expediting us through customs, with lots of help from Dr. Anne Emig and Ms. Kazuko Shinohara of NSF. Dr. Tetsuya Kimura of IRS has made all the travel arrangements within Japan, including the 3 car convoy needed to haul us north to our first mission at the coastal city of Minami-Sanriku-Cho.
Everyone is donating their time and equipment through the Roboticists Without Borders program- really big shout out to Sean, Jesse, Karen, and especially Eric who has been marshaling the ROVs. It’s hard to believe that we’ve got so many top experts and gear to support our Japanese colleagues and people. I’m sure they are going to be able to do good and that we will all learn from their efforts.
Check out the press release for more details or how to contact us.