Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS), in conjunction with three other
companies, has developed a remote control machine - an autonomous
forklift - designed to enter buildings following earthquakes to
determine damage, plus move obstacles and even goods for market up to
2,200 pounds (1,000 kg), for both life-saving and economy-saving
The forklift device is an electric autonomous vehicle with adjustable
forks capable of reaching up to 20 feet in height. It is remotely
controlled using cameras installed on all sides, and has redundant
systems - electrical, cameras and control access - to ensure maximum
performance in the most adverse circumstances.
TPS, through its Italian-based software company, Topcon Infomobility,
provided the wireless network for point-to-point communications
In designing and putting the forklift into operation, Topcon worked with
three Italian companies, Elettric 80, which ontributed a forklift
vehicle and vehicle control system; VisLab, which contributed cameras
and an image-managing system; and FABER-COM, which provided a
multi-function radio remote control system.
Ivan Di Federico, TPS chief strategy officer and president and CEO of
GEOTOP Topcon in Italy, said, "An earthquake can have devastating
effects on the people, property and the environment. In any disaster
there is a need to return to normal activities as soon as possible.
"That's extremely difficult when buildings are not safe and uncertainty
is the norm. In any area hit by a quake, there are many companies," he
said, "which have warehouses full of material that needs to be
dispatched in order for the company to survive."
Equipped with LED lights on all sides and a total of seven cameras, "The
innovative forklift is designed to explore inside buildings that could
be unstable and remove commercial goods in order to restore a semblance
of commerce more quickly than ever before thought possible," Di Federico
The machine is "not just designed to remove goods from a building, it is
also the perfect instrument to check out buildings to determine if they
are safe to enter and remove goods.
"It is important to a stricken country to get goods moving as quickly as
possible," he said.
"With the cooperation between the contributing companies, this forklift
can make a discernible difference in an area's economy after a major
Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc. (TPS) designs and manufactures
precise positioning products and solutions for the global surveying,
construction, agriculture, civil engineering, mapping and GIS, asset
management and mobile control markets. TPS' parent company, Topcon
Corporation (Tokyo Stock Exchange - 7732), was founded in 1932.
[ Back To NFVZone's Homepage ]