The Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) has posted a new video showing various concepts that may become a reality with the development of legged vehicles like Core, their recently unveiled biped. The concepts range from small personal mobility vehicles and baby strollers to walking and farm work assistants. The video concludes with some behind-the-scenes photos.
Obviously these concepts are intended to be quick sketches rather than fully fleshed out design proposals, but having said that, I have one major concern: safety. Out of the bipedal walking vehicles we’ve seen over the past few years, including Waseda University’s WL-16, KAIST’s HUBO FX-1, and Toyota’s i-foot, only Toyota seemed to take driver safety into consideration. It has an eggshell-like cockpit that could conceivably protect the driver in various accidental fall scenarios. A fall when riding any of the others could be fatal, especially if it happened on stairs, to say nothing of injuring innocent bystanders.
Although the practicality of such robots seems a long way off, the safety of the driver (not to mention overall mechanical reliability) will need to be more seriously considered moving forward with these projects. As much as I’m intrigued by Core and robots like it, I think a more protective “cockpit” or indeed more support legs would help to relax these concerns.
[source: fuRomovie @ YouTube]