Top robotics research institutes and centers in Japan


Japan continues to be a global powerhouse in robotics research and development. The collaborative efforts of research institutions, corporations, and governmental bodies have propelled the country to the forefront of innovation in this field.

Here, we explore some of the leading institutions and labs driving the robotics revolution in Japan:

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

AIST stands as one of Japan’s largest public research organizations, focusing on creating and implementing technologies that benefit both industry and society. Its Robot Innovation Research Center spearheads efforts to identify sectors where robotics can improve efficiency and productivity. The center is actively developing and refining safety standards for applied robotic devices. AIST is also deeply involved in exploring the potential of robots to work alongside humans, particularly in healthcare settings like the “Project Unit of Robotic Devices for Nursing Care.” AIST’s most recognizable contribution is perhaps the PARO therapeutic robot seal, designed to provide comfort and companionship.


RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution, delves into various scientific disciplines, including human robotics. RIKEN has partnered with industry leaders to develop several notable robotic nursing assistants. These include RIBA and RIBA-II, robots designed to assist with patient mobility and lifting tasks, and ROBEAR, a more advanced robotic caregiver capable of lifting patients and providing support. RIKEN’s RI-MAN project focuses on developing bio-mimetic robots to aid in elderly care.

Japan Robot Association (JARA)

JARA plays a crucial role in promoting robot production and fostering research and development within the robotics sector. The association actively participates in the development of regulations and strategies to encourage the adoption of robotics. JARA facilitates research collaborations and knowledge exchange within the robotics community. Additionally, it monitors and analyzes trends in the robotics industry to inform future development.

Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)

While primarily focused on automotive testing and research, JARI extends its expertise to personal robot safety. The institute is actively involved in developing methodologies to evaluate the safety of personal robots and establishing testing procedures to ensure their safe operation. JARI leverages knowledge from the automotive and electrical machinery sectors to improve robot safety standards.

Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR)

ATR is a private research organization dedicated to fundamental and innovative research and development. Its Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories focus on developing robotic technologies to assist the elderly and those with disabilities. ATR is committed to advancing core robotic capabilities in areas like perception, navigation, and human-robot interaction. The organization actively partners with universities and research institutions worldwide to accelerate progress in robotics.

Robot Safety Center

A joint venture by NEDO, AIST, and JARI, the Robot Safety Center is a unique facility dedicated to creating standardized testing procedures for personal care and auxiliary robots. The center conducts comprehensive safety assessments of robotic devices and collaborates with the Japan Quality Assurance Agency (JQA) to establish a certification process for robots.

Waseda University – Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI)

Waseda University’s HRI is a world-renowned center for humanoid robotics research. The institute focuses on developing robots that can walk and move like humans, creating robots that can communicate and interact naturally with people, and exploring the use of robots in social settings, such as education and healthcare.

Preferred Networks, Inc.

Preferred Networks is a leading AI and robotics company in Japan known for applying deep learning techniques to robotics to improve perception, decision-making, and control. They are actively developing robotic solutions for manufacturing and logistics, and they are also working on self-driving car technology.

Japan’s robotics landscape is dynamic and constantly evolving. With ongoing research, development, and collaboration, the country is poised to remain a global leader in robotics for years to come.