A giant rescue robot with "feet" like a bulldozer and arms 5 meters in length is undergoing practical testing at Nagaoka University of Technology (Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture). Designed for avalanche disaster relief and snow removal operations, the robot -- known as T-52 Enryu (lit. "rescue dragon") -- is being developed by tmsuk, a Kitakyushu-based robot manufacturer. T-52 Enryu stands 3.45 meters tall and weighs 5 tons.

T-52 Enryu, the snow rescue robot

In the tests, which began on February 1, T-52 Enryu showed off its avalanche prevention skills by removing accumulated snow from the edge of a cliff. The robot also demonstrated its ability to extract a car buried under a bank of snow. Remote control operation is being tested at avalanche sites, where extreme caution is required to prevent secondary avalanches.

Tetsuya Kimura, an associate professor conducting rescue robot research at Nagaoka University of Technology, says, "In addition to performing avalanche-related work, we hope the robot will be useful in removing snow around the entrances to underground shopping arcades or tunnels." Tmsuk aims to put T-52 Enryu to practical use in another year or two. Testing will be open to the public on February 4.

[Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Impress Watch]