Rescue robot development team SHINOBI, led by student members of Professor Fumitoshi Matsuno's laboratory at the Graduate School of Engineering, took the first place in RoboCup 2019 Rescue Robot League, held 4–7 July in Sydney, Australia.
This marked the first-ever RoboCup championship win by SHINOBI, and the first in 14 years by a Japan-based contestant. In addition to this title, the team earned the Best in Class Dexterity award for the high operational performance it had demonstrated during the qualifying round.
RoboCup, launched in 1997, is one of the largest and most esteemed international robot competitions. It consists of leagues such as Soccer, Rescue, and @Home, where teams of researchers and engineers from across the world compete to showcase the viability of their technologies.
SHINOBI participated in this year's Rescue Robot League with its FUHGA 2 robot, mounted with a gripper mechanism developed by Tohoku University Associate Professor Kenjiro Tadakuma and his lab members.
The league's competitions take place in a simulated disaster site, designed to comprehensively test the robots' abilities to handle the environment and carry out a search-and-rescue mission. The specific abilities to be evaluated include being able to smoothly respond to remote control commands, move on uneven and cluttered surfaces, perform delicate tasks with an arm, and autonomously explore surroundings using mapping and self-driving functions. FUHGA 2 won the competition by demonstrating all-round competence, excelling in all of these areas.
SHINOBI is anticipated to carry on with its research and development efforts into building rescue robots with tangible benefit to society.