The seven inch tall robot, weighing just two pounds has been nicknamed Mr. EVOLTA and is essentially a small green character made of plastic and carbon fibre with two Panasonic rechargeable EVOLTA batteries on its back. It walks within a large wheel pulling a trailer containing ten more EVOLTA batteries.
Mr. EVOLTA left Tokyo on the 23rd September and travelled along the ‘53 stations of the Tokaido’, one of Japan’s most important ancient roads, at an average speed of 1.5 miles per hour. Navigating the road was a challenge due to the steep slopes, long bridges and uneven pavements, presenting one rough spot after another for the small robot. Human team mates helped Mr. EVOLTA by pushing a device with an infra red signal which the robot followed and by stopping once a day to recharge its batteries.
Panasonic set this challenge to demonstrate the performance and durability of its new rechargeable AA batteries made from nickel-metal-hydride. The batteries combine the convenience of a disposable battery with the performance and cost benefits of a rechargeable battery. The batteries keep their ability to store power, up to 1600 charging cycles.
Two years ago Mr. EVOLTA, powered by two EVOLTA alkaline batteries, climbed a 530-metre rope to the top of the Grand Canyon in six hours and 46 minutes. The following year it finished the 24 hours Le Mans endurance race of 17 miles and was subsequently recognised in the Guinness World Records for the longest distance covered by a battery operated remote controlled car. However, this latest challenge is the greatest achievement for Mr. EVOLTA to date and received the most attention from the public who commemorated the day with traditional Japanese celebrations.
Check out this video coverage of the achievement.