Government to subsidize research on inspection robots

Kyodo

The government will promote the development of robots for inspecting tunnels, bridges and other infrastructure to efficiently maintain such aging structures, people familiar with the matter said.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will provide subsidies to companies and institutions engaged in developing such robots, and hopes to start inspections using them in about five years, they said.

The need to extend the life spans of aging infrastructure has raised the importance of effectively carrying out inspections, which are both labor-intensive and time-consuming.

The government plans to use robots equipped with cameras and surveying instruments to check tunnel walls, bridge supports, road surfaces and underwater facilities, they said.

Each year, the state spends some ¥3.5 trillion on infrastructure inspections and repairs, it said.