Rikuzen-Takada: robots go where divers cannot

We worked at two sites in the Rikuzen-Takada area after meeting with the Mayor yesterday and then this morning with the City Manager in the city offices overlooking the spectacular bay. The Mayor lost his wife, and the City Manager, his wife and daughter,  in the tsunami as they were at home by the water while they were at work when the wave hit. A reminder of why we’re here- it’s not the technology, it’s about people.

Japanese Coast Guard examining SARbot at IRS/CRASAR deployment to Rikuzentakada, courtesy Eric Steimle, CRASAR, NSF

Our hosts, the International Rescue Systems institute, coordinating the search  with the Japanese Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard divers were very enthusiastic about the ROVs because the divers are forbidden to dive under structures or flotsam such as these houses here. But victims may be trapped under that rubble…

This video is from the SARbot (which was able in less than 10 minutes from car stopping to robot getting across the landing to get under the house).

We also used the AC-ROV for the first time on the trip– it’s essentially a camcorder with thrusters!

No sign of bodies, but we were able to check off two areas that the Coast Guard had been unable to explore. More today.

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