The robot looks down at the train tracks, its metallic arms resembling something out of the “Mobile Suit Gundam” anime series. In the cockpit below, its human operator maneuvers the robot into place, seeing through its "eyes" above as it approaches the high-voltage wires.

In response to Japan's labor shortage, West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) is developing humanoid robots like this one to handle maintenance and construction work, specializing in dangerous places. The railway operator hopes to officially put the robots to work in the spring of 2024.

“The operator steers the robot from the cockpit (near the ground) so they can work safely on tasks high in the air,” said JR West President Kazuaki Hasegawa during a news conference last month.