During the BP Macondo leak I was struck by the enormous level of skill needed by the robot submarine operators and wondered at the apparently low level of automation available to them. But the absence of robotic equipment in the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi facility is really even more comprehensive and more puzzling – there’s no mile of seawater to make things really challenging. An article in CNET asks the same question. It’s quite puzzling. And kind of a sobering reminder of consequences of Dilbert boss impulses to turn useful R&D projects into PR stunts.
It’s not like I didn’t see doomed robotics projects in the US National Labs.