The Moonshot Research and Development Program


“Realization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) robots that autonomously learn, adapt to their environment, evolve itself in intelligence, and act alongside human beings, by 2050.”

Collaborative AI robots for adaptation of
diverse environments and innovation of infrastructure construction

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Research Topic

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Overview of CAFE Project
Project Overview

We, the CAFE project, are working on the research and development of “Collaborative AI robots for adaptation of diverse environments and innovation of infrastructure construction” in the group of Moonshot Goal #3 “AI robots that learn and act by themselves and coexist with people.” The CAFE project is derived from the Collaborative AI Field robot Everywhere.


Disaster response at the site of
a natural disaster in 2050

Collaborative AI robots in 2050

In Japan, various natural disasters frequently occur in many areas. To protect the people living in such areas and minimize the damage caused by disasters, techniques for emergency recovery must be developed.

Considering space, the United States and other countries, including Japan, are developing a moonbase under international cooperation, such as in the Artemis Project.

In this project, we have set the moonshot goals of “Natural disaster response” and “Development of a moonbase for manned exploration on the Moon” with a robotic technology that we aim to achieve by 2050.

The left image shows disaster response at the site of a natural disaster in 2050. After accurately analyzing the disaster situation based on sensing data, multiple field robots work together to recover from the disaster by responding to unexpected situations.


Infrastructure construction on the Moon in 2050

The right image shows infrastructure construction on the Moon in 2050. In this illustration, multiple field robots autonomously and dynamically collaborate to construct the infrastructure as well as respond to the unexpected situations.

Initially, the technologies required for disaster response and lunar development may seem different. However, they have one thing in common: they require robotic technologies that can adapt to various situations in various environments. Therefore, our research goal of the 5-year CAFE project is to develop a field robot equipped with such technologies.

Aims of CAFE Project

In the CAFE project, we aim to design robots that can flexibly respond to various situations. To proceed with this project, we have divided the “ability of responding flexibly” into three elements: “body,” “evaluation,” and “control.” We plan to conduct the research and development in parallel.

To realize a robot “body” that can flexibly adapt to any environment, we will construct “robot hardware that can adapt to any environment.” For flexible “evaluation” within diverse environments, we will research and develop “many modal AI for environmental evaluation,” that evaluate the environment using various sensing data. Furthermore, to achieve multi-robot “control,” we will develop “physical AI and dynamic collaboration” for multiple robots. By combining these  three technologies, we can design field robots that flexibly respond to diverse environments. These robots may be used in the fields of “emergency recovery from natural disasters” and “constructing a base on the Moon.”

Process of project promotion

In the CAFE project, we will promote robotic technologies that can adapt to diverse environments and build infrastructure.
A process diagram of the project is presented here. Although there are many similarities between natural disaster response and lunar infrastructure construction, there are differences in the degree of necessity considering environmental unawareness and robot autonomy.
In this figure, the horizontal axis represents “environmental unawareness,” and the vertical axis represents “necessity of robot autonomy.” For example, the technology required to respond to natural disasters is located at the right side of the diagram because the problem of environmental unawareness is significant compared to the autonomy. However, the technology required for constructing a base on the Moon is located at the upper side of the figure because the necessity of robot autonomy is greater than the problem of environmental unawareness.

Therefore, in the CAFE project, to realize these two technologies, we have named the base technology as “adaptive construction,” and placed it between the technologies of “natural disaster response” and “constructing a base on the Moon.” To realize “adaptive construction,” we will promote research and development in the three areas of “body,” “evaluation,” and “control.”

Simultaneously, we will research and develop more specific robotic technologies required for “constructing a base on the Moon” and “natural disaster response.”



The project named “Collaborative AI robots for adaptation of diverse environments and innovation of infrastructure construction,” aims to develop collaborative field robots that can be useful in “natural disaster response” and “constructing a base on the Moon.” To achieve this goal, robots must be able to flexibly respond to various situations. In this project, we aim to achieve this goal through a variety of approaches.

The introduction to this project is provided in the section “Overview of CAFE Project,” and I, the project manager, would like to share three things that are important to me in this project.

The first is the basic philosophy of this project. The basic philosophy of this project is “to develop technology that is useful to people.” It is the same basic philosophy that I have always cherished in my robotics research. I do not want to excuse myself from saying, “I completed my research, and it will be practical use if somebody complete other required parts.” in this policy.

The second aspect is the horizontal connection between the researchers and engineers. This project requires interdisciplinary cooperation, and it will not be possible without “civil engineering,” “mechanical engineering,” and “AI.” Therefore, we would like to promote the research and development, where researchers from each field respect each other's field and closely exchange information to strengthen the horizontal collaboration.

The third is a field-oriented approach. In this project, we do not want to artificially create and demonstrate a field where robots can efficiently operate. Instead, we want to develop robots that can operate in actual fields.

The members of this project are very powerful researchers and engineers who are currently active in their respective research fields. I am happy to work with them. Please look forward to our future research.

Keiji Nagatani, Project Manager

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Research Result
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