We visited Fukushima Robot Test Field!


On February 21, 2024, we visited the Fukushima Robot Test Field (RTF) in Minamisohma City, Fukushima Prefecture, to tour the facility and exchange opinions.
We would like to thank all the staff members who guided us around the facility and explained about the activities.

Fukushima Robot Test Field, which fully opened in March 2020 based on the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework, is a development and demonstration base for field robots on land, at sea, and in the air, and is still receiving a flood of reservations from companies all over Japan.
We have been talking with them about the current state of the facility and their past activities since its opening four years ago, and would like to introduce some of them.

Facility Summary

RTF has two sites, i.e. Minamisoma site and Namie site. Minamisoma site has “Unmanned aircraft facilities”, “Underwater and maritime robot facilities”, “Infrastructure inspection and disaster response robot facilities”, and “Development base facilities”, within the Reconstruction Industrial Park in Minamisoma City, which measures approximately 1,000 m from east to west and 500 m from north to south. Namie site has a runway for long distance flight test and a hanger in Namie Town Tanashio industrial park.
Unfortunately, it was raining on the day of our visit, but we were able to tour all areas.


Unmanned Aircraft Facilities

This facility has a runway approximately 500 m long and 20 m wide, a buffer netted airfield, a heliport, and a wind tunnel building, etc., allowing flight tests to be conducted on a large site. The two most frequently used facilities among current users are the runway and the netted airfield. The facility is also equipped with hangars, work rooms, rooms overlooking the runway, etc., and it is possible to stay there for long-term flight tests.

The runway is a popular area for those who want to fly over a large area, as it has a total width of approximately 100 m including unpaved areas, although fixed-wing types and other types are also used.

The buffer netted airfield can be divided into sections from full use to one-third use, and can be flown up to 10 m in height. Since the netted airfield is the same as an indoor facility, there is no need for permits and applications, which is very helpful for test flights in the development stage.

Underwater and Maritime Robot Facilities

This facility has two water tanks, one large and one small, and a field that recreates a submerged urban area. This time, we visited the indoor water tank. It recreates a dam, river piers, and a wharf at a bay port, where robots for inspection and survey can be tested and trained.

This small tank is 3 m wide, 5 m long, and 1.7 m depth, allowing the user to check the underwater movement from the side. It can be used to test the performance of observation equipment mounted on the aircraft, as it can generate water flow and adjust turbidity.

This large tank is 12 m wide, 30 m long, and 7 m depth, and can be used to inspect underwater structures, set up objects for inspection, generate water flow, and reproduce underwater dark areas.

This test piece, which simulates the unevenness and cracks of an aging underwater structure, can be installed in a large tank and tested to see if cracks can be confirmed through video images.

Infrastructure Inspection and Disaster Response Robot Facilities

Due to rain, we toured the area while driving through the area by car. It was a huge field where bridges, tunnels, plants, urban areas, and rubble and landslides were recreated for testing purposes. They are used not only for research and development, but also for training during normal times and disasters. In 2021, the test plant and test tunnel will host the Infrastructure and Disaster Response category competition of the World Robotics Summit 2020.

Development Base Facilities

This is the main building of RFT, and the research building is equipped with many laboratories and high-performance equipment for evaluating robot performance. At the time of the tour, there were many laboratories of companies conducting research and development based at this location.

We will continue to post when we attend or visit events, etc., so please look forward to our next post!
Thank you!