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Technology Factsheet

Fukushima Drone

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Airborne System
Reference # : Model No :

Drones used to measure radiation in Fukushima nuclear plant. A drone manufactured to measure radiation levels has been developed by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency and the Japanese Space Exploration Agency. It is operated using a remote control and unlike manned aircrafts, it has the option to fly lower, with a minimum of 300 meters in altitude.

Size:Very Large (>100kg/200lb, >120cm/48in)
TRL:Demonstration (7-8)
TRL2:Demonstration (7-8)
Tether:No tether - Endurance 30-60 minutes
Waterproof:Not Rated or Unknown
Reach: *
Manipulator: *




The drone was launched to fly around the Fukushima plant and measure radiation levels, taking off around six kilometers away from the damaged power plant in Namie City. While flying for thirty minutes, it was able to collect radiation levels in real-time and went back to the scientists for analysis of data.

The drone’s flight went around the plant and the land around it. It was necessary to follow that flight plan to ensure that information gathered is exact, as it will be more beneficial for scientists analyzing the data. The team of experts is planning to conduct more flights to further test the drones and how effective they will be in detecting radiation.

The airplane measures 2.7 m in length and 4.2 m in width, and weighs approximately 50 kg. Flight control is conducted by the ground station .

Operational Experience: The test flight was conducted for a 1 km-square area above the Ukedo district. After switching to automatic, the airplane flew along a programed flight path going back and forth many times so as to cover the target area thoroughly. By the system the flight trajectory and measurement data were sent back to the ground station so that operator could check them in real time on a monitor.

The airplane landed safely after having approximately 30-minute flight. Measurement data was also obtained without any hitches, and the test was a success.

Source: TOPICS Fukushima 24 Mar. 2014 No.42



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