On October 26, 2006, Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT) and University of Tsukuba announced that they have launched the development of an under-floor inspection robot through collaboration between industry and academia. As part of the development effort, a test site for simulating the conditions under house floor will be built in the CIT campus and demonstration tests will be conducted there.
The robot is remotely controlled to run under the house floor and transmits images to a monitor. Specifically, it runs through the dirt floor and over the plumbing. It is provided with a mobility to run through a slot with a width of 500 mm and a height of 300 mm that is built in the foundation under the floor.
The robot is also provided with a function to shoot still images by remote control in order to record the inspected conditions such as corrosion, leakage and termite infestation. The developers also plan to enable monitoring of the position and posture of the robot on the screen so that operators can easily manipulate it.
As for the development schedule, a prototype for performance evaluation will be manufactured by the end of March 2007. The experimental operation and field test at an inspection site and the safety design for volume production will be completed by the end of March 2008. The actual operation is slated for launch in April 2008 or later.
With view to developing under-floor inspection robot, Daiwa House applied for "FY 2006 support project for creation of service robot market," a publicly open project run by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in which Daiwa House's plan was adopted. The robot will be jointly-developed by CIT and Univ. of Tsukuba. The test site built in the CIT campus is designed to duplicate the environment under the floor so as to allow verification of functions including robot's driving performance and image transmission capability which are required for the inspection.