According to a story reported by Asahi.com, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) is developing special undersea robots in response to strong international competition in the discovery, exploration, and extraction of rare metals on the ocean bottom.
The robots will be remote controlled via cables and equiped with a number of special sensors to facilitate marine mineral exploration research. The larger of the two undersea robots will be 7 meters long while it’s smaller sibling will measure 4 meters and weigh approximately 1 ton.
The robots are designed to dive up to 4,500 meters deep in their search for hydrothermal and mineral deposits including copper, zinc, gold, silver, germanium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, and other rare metals. The robots are expected to go into full operation in 2011.
The discovery and exploration of rare metals and undersea resources has become a top priority for Japan, especially in the face of rapidly growing competitive economies, especially China.