In 2011, Kenzo Nonami started designing small autonomous drones to help with the Japanese nuclear crisis. At the moment, an official launch date isn’t known but soon inspections inside the dangerous buildings will begin in reactors 1 and 3. The team behind the build is Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd., who feels strongly the drone will play a big part in gaining important information while protecting lives.
It is not known when the meter-wide hexacopter will be ready to begin inspections inside the buildings housing the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors, which suffered meltdowns, but the team behind it is confident the drone will have a role to play.
“The time will certainly come when drone technology will be of help,” said a member of the development team.
The six-propeller drone is equipped with a camera, an instrument to measure radiation levels, and a dust collector.
The aircraft is different from conventional drones in that it can detect walls and other obstacles by laser, even when inside a reactor building, where GPS would not work and where radiation doses may be too high for humans.