The HRP-5P is a humanoid robot from Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology that can perform common construction tasks, including, installing drywall.
HRP-5P – maybe we can call it Herb? – uses environmental measurement, object detection and movement planning to perform various tasks. In this video, we see that it uses small hooks to grab the board and slide it on the floor. Then, with a little maneuver, he is able to place the board against the beams and drill them into place.
“By using HRP-5P as a development platform for collaboration between industry and academia, research and development is expected for the practical use of humanoid robots in building construction sites and the assembly of large structures such as airplanes and boats speed up, “writes the creators.
Researchers see the robot as a replacement for an aging population and a declining birth rate. “It is expected that many industries, such as the construction industry, will suffer from a serious shortage of manuals in the future, and it is urgent to solve this problem with robot technology,” he wrote. “In addition, at work sites that assemble very large structures, such as construction sites and assembly of aircraft / ships, workers are performing hazardous heavy work, and it is desired to replace these tasks with robot technology. However, in the assembly site of these large structures, it is difficult to develop a work environment adapted to the robot, and the introduction of robots has not progressed. ”
However, the machine also fits into a familiar pattern for Japan: its determination to address population deficits through technology rather than immigration. AIST is quick to declare that robots like HRP-5P are designed to cope with the “manual shortage” that is expected to stem from the aging of Japanese residents and the reduction in the birth rate. This would allow the reduction in the number of human workers to focus on lighter and less hazardous work, according to AIST. It could be useful beyond Japan, but it is meant to address a much deeper problem that robots can not solve.
Taking into account that only in the USA alone there are 6 million contractors, robots like this could be a blessing or a curse. What happens when we can easily replace humans in transportation, logistics and construction? Let’s hope Herb needs a supervisor.