EX ROVR, the autonomous, explosion-proof, plant inspection robot : FAQ
[ Nuclear Power Generation ]

Distributors :


We would like to know about general mobility on different surfaces, climbing/descending stairs.

In the autonomous operation mode, EX ROVR can overcome and travel over a wide variety of grooves and obstacles at site. In the remote operations mode, EX ROVR can climb over even higher weir/steps (maximum recorded step was approximately 40cm, climbing ability depends upon the shape & surface condition of weir/step). EX ROVR can ascend and descend stairs and slopes with vertical anglesand can operate across curved surfaces. Refer to the “Products” page for detailed specifications.

We would like to know about the detection of voids or holes in walking surfaces. How does it not fall off sides of walkways or stairs?

EX ROVR can travel across grooves/holes (refer to the “Products” page for details). If there are holes which EX ROVR cannot overcome, then the route setting is made to avoid such holes, or a bridge may be placed across holes so that EX ROVR can go through. EX ROVR can identify its own location through its 3D LiDAR system and follow the route set during the mapping & scenario setting; therefore, the risk of falling from walkways or stairs is quite low.However, it is recommended to place wire rope at the handrail of stairs and walkway as an additional precaution.

Can EX ROVR move backwards?

Yes, but it is only recommended for remote operations mode. Since an obstacle detection sensor is not equipped on the back side of EX ROVR, moving backward during autonomous operation is not recommended.
On the other hand, a camera is equipped on the front side and back side of EX ROVR; therefore, moving backward during the remote operation is possible and safe.

How is the sideways stability going up & down stairs?

EX ROVR system works to ensure it is parallel to the angle of stairs and on the staircase axis before going up or down.

How does the EX ROVR do on terrain that is not flat? For instance, how does it perform on sand, gravel, grating, ice, etc.

EX ROVR’s crawler and subcrawler design allow it to travel over rugged terrain. It has had no issues with sand, gravel, and grating. It may have issues with very soft sand or mud as the crawlers may sink. The system has not yet been extensively tested on ice, but its multiple points of contact across a large surface area of the ground should provide advantages on icy, slick, and snowy surfaces.

Can EX ROVR ascend/descend spiral staircases?

No. Depending on the configuration there is a possibility that EX ROVR ascend/descend spiral staircases, but it is impossible by autonomous operation.

How fast does EX ROVR travel?

Safety is our number one priority. EX ROVR travels at a maximum speed of 1.2 km/hour to ensure that it is not a hazard to personnel working at the asset.

Can EX ROVR drive across grid plating, grating, and decking materials?

Yes, EX ROVR is designed to navigate and maintain traction across these surfaces.


We would like to know the controller/tablet delay and maximum distance.

Delay depends on the communication environment and the location of the remote control station. Over 4G LTE, latency is a maximum of 100 milliseconds and we have not had any problems during remote operations. If LTE is available, there is no limitation for the distance for remote control; however, there may be restrictions by the carrier depending on the location.

What does EX ROVR use for communication?

4G LTE. Development is on-going to cope with the Private LTE.


How many hours can EX ROVR operate?

EX ROVR can operate up to 2 hours and takes 2 hours to recharge a completely depleted battery.

What is the replacement interval of battery?

2,000 operating hours or 2 years, whichever comes earlier.

Can we use more than one charging station for EX ROVR to extend the range of operations?

Yes, multiple charging stations can be used throughout the asset to eliminate the need to travel back to the same station for a recharge thus increasing the range at an asset.

Is it possible to recharge the battery without using the charging station? For example removing the battery from EX ROVR and use other charger.

It is not possible.

Ex Proof Certifcate

We would like to know the details around ATEX and IECEx certification of the robot and the autonomous charging.

EX ROVR has ATEX and IECEx Zone1 IIB+H2 T3 explosion proof certificates. Testing was successfully completed in March and April 2022. The charging station also has a Zone 1 explosion proof certificate.

Autonomous Operation

We would like to know the process of conducting an autonomous round.

First, map creation by 3D LiDAR and scenario setting are performed by remote control. The duration required for mapping & scenario setting depends on the range and complexity of autonomous inspection scenario, the nominal duration is 2 days for 1 scenario. Once the map is created and the scenario is set, then EX ROVR performs autonomous inspection based on that map and scenario. Several scenarios can be set and scenarios can be easily changed by the operator through the software.

We would like to confirm the countermeasures when the EX ROVR finds the obstacles during the autonomous operation.

If an 'unexpected' object blocks pre-determined route for 3 minutes or less (TBD), then EX ROVR will stand still until the obstacle is removed, then continue autonomous operations after that.
If an 'unexpected' object blocks pre-determined route for over 3 minutes (TBD), then EX ROVR will alert for operator action/guidance. The default position is the robot stands still until told what to do. With operator input, robot can go around object, assuming sufficient space is available.
The obstacle recognition sensor cannot be used while navigating narrow paths to avoid misdetection.

What happens if there is a loss in communications?

EX ROVR downloads 3D environment maps, scenarios, and waypoints at the charging station when beginning a mission. These are stored onboard EX ROVR. In case of loss of communication (4G LTE), the operating scenario is not impacted and will be continued and completed. Once EX ROVR returns to the charging station, the data acquired during the scenario is contained onboard EX ROVR and can then be uploaded if a reconnection is made at that location.
If loss of communication still continues after return to the charging station, then execution of next scenario is suspended until the connection is re-established.

Are there any limitations to the number of autonomous rounds that can be designed or scheduled?

There are no limitations for the number of scenarios.

What is the countermeasure when the EX ROVR stops its operations during the scenario execution?

An alarm is sent to the human operator, and then the human operator can respond to the situation.

How long does it take to create a scenario?

It depends on the complexity of the scenario. The nominal duration is two days per scenario.

What is the repeatability of the process of the camera acquiring gauge images?

While the process is not 100% identical every time, EX ROVR's high-resolution camera allows for a highly repeatable process and room for tolerance in the positioning of the camera.

Can EX ROVR travel autonomously in a wide-open area?

Yes, as long as there are landmarks within the range of 3D LiDAR. If there is no landmark, then simple markers can be placed.

Is it possible to install the existing 3d map data to EX ROVR for autonomous operation?

It is not possible. 3d map shall be developed by using the 3D LiDAR of EX ROVR.

Can I control EX ROVR remotely to fulfill an emergency response use case?

Yes, EX ROVR can be controlled remotely through teleoperations. This would allow an operator to take EX ROVR into hazardous areas to assess an environment. 4G LTE communications in the area of operation is required to ensure that EX ROVR remains in contact with the remote operator.


Can EX ROVR handle snow and ice?

When there is ice or snow on stairs or slopes and slippage is a concern, then the attachment of a high-friction surface on the edge of stairs or on slopes would help to avoid the slippage.
In case of heavy rain or snow, laser of 3D LiDAR may be diffused or reflected.
In case of heavily accumulated snow, identification of its own location may be difficult due to the difference between the map and 3D LiDAR live data under this extreme condition.

Can EX ROVR operate in the rain? Are there any countermeasures against water droplets on the camera?

EX ROVR can operate in light rain. In case of heavy rain, the 3D LiDAR system could have issues with laser diffusion or reflection and autonomous operation may not be possible.
As a countermeasure against the aqueous water droplet, periodic wiping by a human operator is recommended.

What is the resistance to direct sunlight?

Operation in direct sunlight typically has no issues. Continuous exposure to direct sunlight for an extended duration at the charging station is undesirable; it is recommended that the station is located in a shaded area. Camera image capturing may be affected by direct sunlight depending on angle and intensity.

What is EX ROVR's resistance to salt?

Moving parts are completely sealed and there is no concern. Most parts are made of aluminum with alumite treatment, so functionality can be maintained even when exposed to salt.

What is the requirement for temperature?



We would like to know camera/LiDAR capabilities especially in low light conditions

3D LiDAR and the thermal imaging infrared camera will function even in low light conditions. The manipulator FHD camera requires sufficient lighting to capture images properly. The manipulator has an integrated lighting system which produces an adjustable maximum 2,400 lux beam at 250mm.

Does EX ROVR have image recognition ability such as reading gauges and data communication?

It is important for the camera to point directly at the gauge (AI support is considered) to ensure sufficient image resolution for the digitalization of the camera image.
EX ROVR itself does not an onboard ability for digitalization of camera image data. Digitalization of gauge readings will be performed via software in the cloud.

We would like to know the thermal imaging capability.

Refer to the “Products” page.

We would like to know the gas detection sensors and capabilities.

Refer to the “Producs” page.

Does EX ROVR have the ability to sense and monitor acoustic sound data to detect anomalies?

Sound data within the zone of audibility will be recorded and uploaded without compression.
Anomaly detection by AI will be added to the system’s capabilities and will be performed in the cloud.

What is the interval of calibration of gas sensor.

Every two years.

Can I add payloads to EX ROVR or change one sensor/device for another onboard?

EX ROVR contains a suite of built-in, explosion-proof sensors and devices to meet a wide range of use cases "right out of the box." The explosion proof certification which EX ROVR carries includes these items and serves as the basis of our certification. For example, changing the camera would likely require a modification of software and also the re-performance of the explosion proof certificate process.

Is it possible to record the movie?

For the moment EX ROVR capture the still image and upload it to the cloud. During the remote control, movie can be confirmed by using the remote control pc.

Data Analytics

What kind of data analytics are being utilized today on the platform?

EX ROVR obtains environmental data (visible image, thermal image, sounds, gas concentration, etc.) and then uploads it to the cloud where data analytics will then be performed via AI.
The anomaly detection feature is software-based and is currently being developed.
Since this is a cloud software update, this allows the flexibility to expand the function without requiring the revision of explosion proof certificate.

How are you integrating the output information to the broader digital platform, making that data available and useful?

We are working with an Information Architecture system supplier to integrate the robot /data management system with the existing process control system.


We would like to know the detail of manipulator.

The 6-axis manipulator (without gripper) enables the maneuvering dexterity. A three finger end effector (gripper) is added at the tip of manipulator. Refer to the “Products” page for details.

What kind of operations can be performed by the manipulator?

The arm can carry a payload of up to 3 kg at the referenced position. The arm will also be able to push certain emergency switches and manipulate certain valves through the use of a support device.

Devepopment Progress

Where is EX ROVR being used today?

EX ROVR is currently fully commercialized and is being used at operational oil and gas assets in Japan. We are working with operators around the world to establish future deployments.

What are the future plans for EX ROVR?

EX ROVR was fully commercialized in April 2022 and we are working with operators around the world to establish future deployments.

Are any EX ROVRs in production currently?

Yes, EX ROVR is fully commercialized and multiple EX ROVRs are currently in production.

How can I test EX ROVR for use at my own asset?

Yes, and you can test the fully commercialized robot. Please let us know the parameters of the tests and we can work with you on developing the project.


What is the reliability of the EX ROVR? (How many hours of testing etc.) .
We would like to know if there is a concerns or issues for reliability. Also we would like to know the requirement of periodic maintenance.

The Prototype EX ROVR has an operating record of approximately 2,000 hours. The commercialized EX ROVR ASCENT is currently gaining operating experience at operating oil and gas assets.
Testing of the stair climbing ability (both up and down) has been conducted for more than 100 times by using the prototype resulting in no conditions where the robot has fallen.
Maintenance plan is shown in the maintenance manual.


What is the countermeasure to avoid the collision of EX ROVR to plant equipment or with a human operator?

Collision energy is calculated based on the traveling speed and weight of EX ROVR, and a risk assessment is performed during scenario setting. Serious damage to the plant or human operator is not a concern during normal operations.

How can I disable EX ROVR during operations if needed? Does it include an emergency stop button?

Yes, EX ROVR has a physical emergency stop button on the robot itself. This can be pressed at any time to immediately stop operations. Additionally, an operator can stop EX ROVR’s operations remotely by switching from autonomous to remote operations mode.

Dimensions, Weight

How big is EX ROVR and how much does it weigh? Can it be carried if needed?

It can be carried by human operator if needed. Refer to the “Products” page for detailed dimensions and weight.

What is the maximum reach of EX ROVR’s robotic arm?

Refer to the “Products” page.

Business Contact

Please send to the inquiry form below or your email address.


Business contact

Stories of MHI Group Expertise