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Advanced Robotics Foundation Overview


Japan has long been said to be a leader in robotics, but this has been limited to industrial robots, particularly the field of manufacturing-relating robots in mass production. In contrast, Japan is struggling to compete internationally in fields such as service robots, as well as flying robots and drones, which have been called “An industrial revolution in the sky” in recent years. There are various possible causes of this, but one important reason is the lack of personnel development of young people in the field.

Our foundation will focus on personnel development of young people in advanced robotics fields, and we aim to cultivate talented young people through the competition to push the boundaries of robotics technology, using the competition format as a methodology for evaluation. Specifically, we will hold drone-related competitions annually, and outstanding teams will be rewarded with research grants, prize money, and acclaim, while also stimulating greater development in the future. As a result, this will contribute to the development of the drone and advanced robotics industries.



  1. Developing personnel in advanced robotics fields
  2. Holding competitions in next-generation advanced robotics fields (including providing research assistance and awarding prize money) and conducting outreach
  3. Other projects in addition to those mentioned above which are necessary to achieve the foundations’ goals


Financial Resources:

Regarding the foundation’s operating capital and equipment funds, while Dr. Nonami, the founder of both this foundation and Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL), makes financial contributions, in the future, Dr. Nonami will transfer a portion of the ACSL stock he owns to the foundation, and the dividends will be devoted to this purpose.

Regarding competition expenses, the stock dividends, as well as annual dues from foundation corporate members and donations solicited from corporations, etc., will be devoted to this purpose.


Reference 1: Example of Competition Scenarios

  1. Long-distance flights ranging to tens of kilometers (fixed wing, rotary wing, VTOL, engine generator, fuel cell, etc.)
  2. Missions such as next-generation disaster response information gathering, etc.
  3. Next-generation logistics drones (next-generation logistics utilizing both UAVs and UGVs)
  4. Obstacle-avoiding drones with and without GPS (flying in forests, etc.)
  5. Combination aerial and submersible drones
  6. Smart drones supported by AI/5G/cloud platforms
  7. Large payload drones (pilotless flight similar to flying cars)
  8. Multiple craft flying in formation (intelligent leader-follower flight)
  9. Extended flight using a wireless power supply
  10. Flying robots equipped with robotic arms for tasks in flight


Reference 2: Example of Competition Concept

  1. Universities and corporations form collaborative teams.
  2. Responsibilities are delineated, such as universities handling new software, etc., while corporations handle fabrication.
  3. In the initial screening, teams are selected based on their presentations.
  4. Teams that pass the initial screening receive grants with research expenses from the foundation.
  5. Teams spend roughly six months until the main event improving performance before participating in the competition.
  6. In the main event, teams are evaluated by category, and outstanding teams receive prize money.
  7. The bar is to be raised gradually every year with the aim of improving advanced robotics technology.
  8. Fukushima Robot Test Field, remote islands, and mountainous areas, etc., will be used as competition venues.
  9. Except for the size of the prizes, we envision a competition similar to the DARPA Challenge.
  10. In the future we will cooperate with cooperation with China, South Korea, and Taiwan, etc., to expand in Asia and the Middle East regions.
  11. Partnerships with existing UAV competitions in Europe and North America are also possible.

This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)