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Japan introduces humanoid robot for railway maintenance operations

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jul 4, 2024

Japan introduces humanoid robot for railway maintenance operations

In an innovative step toward addressing labor shortages and enhancing safety, West Japan Railway has unveiled a new humanoid robot designed to assist with maintenance work. While its appearance may evoke memories of malevolent robots from 1980s sci-fi movies, the company’s intentions are entirely practical and benign.

Image credit: Reuters

Humanoid Robot to Enhance Safety and Efficiency

Starting this month, the robot, characterized by a rudimentary head and coke-bottle eyes mounted on a truck capable of driving on rails, will be deployed for maintenance tasks on the railway network. Its primary responsibilities will include trimming tree branches along the rails and painting metal frames that hold cables above the trains.

The introduction of this technology aims to address worker shortages in Japan’s aging population and reduce accidents, such as falls from heights or electric shocks. “In the future, we hope to use machines for all kinds of maintenance operations of our infrastructure,” said company president Kazuaki Hasegawa at a recent press conference. “This should provide a case study for how to deal with the labor shortage.”

Image credit: Reuters
AppearanceRudimentary head with coke-bottle eyes
MobilityMounted on a truck that can drive on rails
Primary TasksTrimming tree branches, painting metal frames
PurposeAddress worker shortages, enhance safety
Future PlansExpand to various maintenance operations

West Japan Railway’s commitment to leveraging technology for operational efficiency and safety marks a significant step forward in modernizing railway maintenance amidst Japan’s demographic challenges.

Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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