Robohub.org
 

Bristol professors to play role in creating robots for dangerous nuclear sites

by
01 March 2017



share this:

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is part of a consortium which has received a £4.6 million grant to build a new generation of robots for use in nuclear sites. The funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will help develop smaller robotics technologies that will be able to operate autonomously and effectively in hazardous environments.

The cost of cleaning up the UK’s existing nuclear facilities has been estimated to be between £95 billion and £219 billion over the next 120 years. The harsh conditions within these facilities means human access is highly restricted and much of the work will need to be completed by robots.

Present robotics technology is not capable of completing many of the tasks that will be required. Whilst robotic systems have proven to be of great benefit at Fukushima Daiichi NPP, their limitations, which include relatively straightforward tasks such as turning valves, navigating staircases and moving over rough terrain, have been highlighted.

Robohub contributor Professor Alan Winfield, and Professor Tony Pipe, both of UWE Bristol and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, will contribute to the project alongside researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham as well as industrial partners Sellafield Ltd, EdF Energy, UKAEA and NuGen.

The consortium will develop robots which have improved power, sensing, communications and processing power. They will also develop systems which are able to address issues around grasping and manipulation, computer vision and perception. Importantly the robots will be autonomous – able to operate without direct supervision by humans.

Tony Pipe, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at UWE Bristol and Deputy Director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said: “This project will allow Bristol Robotics Laboratory researchers to further develop, apply and then exploit their world-renowned expertise in advanced multi-robot and human-robot interaction systems to support this safety-critical domain, and hence achieve valuable societal and environment impact for the UK.”

The University of Manchester’s Professor Barry Lennox, who is leading this project, said: “This programme of work will enable us to fundamentally improve Robotic and Autonomous Systems capabilities, allowing technologies to be reliably deployed in to harsh environments, keeping humans away from the dangers of radiation.”

Within the next five years, the researchers will produce prototype robots which will then be trialled in both active and inactive environments. It is anticipated that these trials will include using robotic manipulators to autonomously sort and segregate waste materials.

The technology will not only have potential for improving robots used at nuclear sites but also in other hostile environments such as space, sub-sea, and mining or in situations such as bomb-disposal and healthcare which are dangerous or difficult for humans.


If you liked this article, you may also be interested in:

See all the latest robotics news on Robohub, or sign up for our weekly newsletter.



tags: , , , , , , ,


UWE Bristol is a public university located near the city of Bristol
UWE Bristol is a public university located near the city of Bristol





Related posts :



ep.

352

podcast

Robotics Grasping and Manipulation Competition Spotlight, with Yu Sun

Yu Sun, previous chair of the Robotics Grasping and Manipulation Competition, speaks on the value that this competition brought to the robotics community.
21 May 2022, by
ep.

351

podcast

Early Days of ICRA Competitions, with Bill Smart

Bill Smart, one fo the early ICRA Competition Chairs, dives into the high-level decisions involved with creating a meaningful competition.
21 May 2022, by

New imaging method makes tiny robots visible in the body

Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-​sized microrobots individually and at high resolution in a living organism.
20 May 2022, by

A draft open standard for an Ethical Black Box

Within the RoboTIPS project, we have developed and tested several model of Ethical Black Boxes, including one for an e-puck robot, and another for the MIRO robot.
19 May 2022, by

Unable to attend #ICRA2022 for accessibility issues? Or just curious to see robots?

There are many things that can make it difficult to attend an in person conference in the United States and so the ICRA Organizing Committee, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and OhmniLabs would like to help you attend ICRA virtually.
17 May 2022, by
ep.

350

podcast

Duckietown Competition Spotlight, with Dr Liam Paull

Dr. Liam Paull, cofounder of the Duckietown competition talks about the only robotics competition where Rubber Duckies are the passengers on an autonomous driving track.
17 May 2022, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association