Fukushima Disaster Inspires Better Emergency-Response Robots

Emergency-response robots have long suffered from having a range of mobility and dexterity comparable to a one-year-old child and a level of autonomy generally limited to completing a single task at a time. Nowhere was this more painfully obvious than in Japan four years ago, after a small squadron of robots was sent to assist workers at the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The machines spent a good deal of time on the sidelines, leaving humans to do the most hazardous work.