One of our co-founders of Platypus LLC, Abhinav Valada flew to Japan on the 16th of July to present a paper on the boats at the 8th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics (FSR 2012). The conference was held in Matusushima, which is known to be one of the most beautiful places in Japan.
FSR is a conference where researchers from all over the world working in area of field and service robotics come to report of their recent scientific and technological development. Papers on several exciting projects such as autonomous navigation of cars and deployment of robots in the Fukushima nuclear power plant were presented. Abhinav presented a paper entitled "Development of a Low Cost Multi-Robot Autonomous Marine Surface Platform". This paper details on the hardware as well as software of our boats, while presenting results from several field experiments. The paper can be found here
Platypus also had a booth at the conference, where we showcased one of our boats along with several posters on various applications in which our boats have been used. People had many things to say about our boats, they were most commonly described as “Innovative” and “Cool”. Disaster nearly struck when getting off the plane in Japan Abhinav noticed that part of the propulsion assembly broke during the flight although he quickly got to work and initiated some speedy repairs that had the boat back up and running by the conference.
During the conference, in order to give a sense on just how helpful robotics technology could be to some search and rescue operations, they took the conference attendees to a town that was one of the most affected due to the tsunami in 2011. Some parts of this town was still submerged and several thousands are still missing.