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Japan robot unveiled for international sea-mapping competition

/ 01:20 PM September 20, 2018
20180919-sea-mapping

A new unmanned exploration robot designed to map the ocean floor is displayed at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Tuesday. The Japan News/Asia News Network

YOKOSUKA, Japan — A new unmanned exploration robot made by Team Kuroshio, which will compete this year in the final round of an international race to precisely map the ocean floor, was unveiled Tuesday at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The team is comprised of representatives from eight government, private sector and academic organizations, including JAMSTEC, the University of Tokyo and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co.

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The new robot is one of two that will be used in the competition’s final round.

The 5.6-meter-long, 1-meter-wide, 2.3-ton cylindrical robot will map the topography of the ocean floor using sound waves. It can move autonomously at speeds of up to 8 kph for more than a day, according to the team.

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In the competition, which is organized by the U.S.-based XPRIZE Foundation, teams aim to map an area of the seabed of at least 250 square kilometers at a depth of at least 4,000 meters within 24 hours.

Eight teams from Japan, the United States and Europe will compete in the final for a grand prize of $7 million (about ¥800 million).

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TAGS: Asia, Japan, Robots, Sea Mapping, technology
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