at IROS 2017, honda revealed a prototype for a disaster relief robot, the biggest look inside their humanoid robotics research and development program in years. the bright orange robot, E2-DR, who has the ability to grasp bars, adjust its hips and walk in a human-like manner is the product of an experiment the japanese company announced two years ago.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboom
E2-DR is the product of honda’s humanoid robotic research, all images ©IEEE spectrum



a paper called ‘development of experimental legged robot for inspection and disaster response in plants’ – plants in this case meaning factories – details how the robot prototype is flexible, strong, and waterproof. honda revealed the model’s capability of handling a variety of different potential issues caused in a disastrous situation such as moisture, dust and relatively extreme temperatures.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboomthe robot has the ability to climb ladders and grasp objects


at 1.68 meters high and 85 kilograms in weight, honda has kept the robot’s size to a minimum helped by their swapping out of standard communication cables for optical fiber which are eight times smaller. it can squeeze through 30-cm gaps, has 33 degrees of freedom and grease is used to keep contaminants out of its joints.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboom30cm thick its size has been kept to a minimum at less than 30cm thick


E2-DR is able to operate in temperatures between 10 and 40 degrees celsius, using a special cooling technology to prevent it from overheating. honda has placed routing air ducts in the prototypes torso with internal fans to promote ventilation. heat producing hardware on the exterior of the ducts maximise cooling using thermal conducting sheets and fans inside the ducts to help maximise cooling.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboomE2-DR is a look into the future of disaster response teams


the model’s head comprises of hokuyo laser rangefinders alongside a couple flight cameras, a single monocular camera, plus a stereo camera that works with an IR light projector. whilst honda imagines the robot will work with wireless tools in the future, an essential level of dexterity has been achieved by equipping each hand with additional cameras and a 3D sensor.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboomthe robot can withstand extreme temperatures and factory conditions


with a 1,000wh battery the robot can operate for 90 minutes. at the IROS talk honda stated that the E2-DR is a prototype which needs a lot more development before it becomes useful and viable. the company has worked on the robot for several years and it’s priority right now is teaching the model to handle collisions whilst also developing a system for the ‘control of the robot for real usage’. honda hasn’t indicated when a final model may be released.
honda E2-DR iros disaster robot designboom
honda have not indicated when a final model will be released