Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. on Tuesday unveiled a robot that can operate in the presence of flammable gases, such as after a gas leak following a disaster.

A joint project with Chiba Institute of Technology, the Sakura No. 2 is the country's first mobile inspection unit that can operate in the presence of high concentrations of explosive gases such as methane and hydrogen.

There is an increasing need for an inspection robot that is not a fire hazard as Japan steers toward becoming a hydrogen-based society, said Ken Onishi, a senior engineer in charge of the project for Mitsubishi Heavy.