Demo, Trials and Deployment News

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ROBOTIC INSPECTION OF ACTIVE SITES AT DOUNREAY

The RAIN Hub has successfully trialled a robot in an active deployment at the Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) nuclear reactor research facility, now in the process of decommissioning. RAIN’s remit is to develop robotic and AI solutions to meet user-led challenges in the nuclear industry. A team of RAIN researchers has been working with DSRL to understand where our technology might benefit them.

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REMOTE INSPECTION WORKING GROUP (RIWG) TRIALS IN DRUMMED WASTE STORE

As part of the RAIN project, the Remote Inspection Working Group (RIWG) has been developing a range of technologies to allow autonomous ground vehicles to characterise and monitor facilities that process and store waste from the nuclear industry. As part of this work, we have been developing a relationship with the UKAEA Waste Consignments team in Culham. In this relationship we have been working to understand the different requirements the UKAEA team have for autonomous systems in monitoring and managing temporarily stored waste, and helping them understand the technology currently under development in the RAIN consortium. As part of this process, UKAEA have allowed us to trial various robotic inspection systems in their low hazard drummed waste store in Culham.

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TESTING ANYMAL AT RACE

The RAIN team from Oxford Robotics Institute visited RACE to test out their ANYmal at the mobility benchmarking lanes. This is part of their work to test the reliability of different mobile robots. The terrain course, consisting of three ‘lanes’, was first developed by NIST, the U.S’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The lanes provide a standard benchmark for all small/medium wheeled, tracked and legged robots.

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REMOTE INSPECTION WORKING GROUP AT BRISTOL

The Remote Inspection Working group is working on both characterisation and long term monitoring and change detection of spaces in the nuclear industry. In August, they tested some new kit at the University of Bristol’s Fenswood Farm facility.

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KUKA GLOVEBOX REMOTE HANDLING DEMONSTRATION

The latest exciting industry-relevant remote handling demonstration from RACE includes two collaborative Kuka robot arms and Robotiq grippers. The newest iteration of the system allows for the robot arms and grippers to be moved and controlled via a pair of custom-built gloves, while a VR headset allows the user to track movements in digital space.

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FIRST TRIALS OF A SUBMERSIBLE RAMAN INSPECTION PLATFORM

RAIN researchers, from the Universities of Bristol and Manchester, have been working together to develop a new submersible remote inspection platform.

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VENTURING TOWARDS THE ‘UNKNOWN ROOM’

We recently saw the first culmination of a joint RAIN demonstrator project with the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and the Universities of Manchester and Bristol. The ‘Unknown Room’ project has seen the two university teams develop a pair of robotic platforms with an in-common interchangeable gamma and neutron detection system. The challenge is to survey a high hazard facility to determine the location, energy and character of any radiation sources. This detailed understanding of dose and criticality risk in the facility will allow decision makers to devise a manned or robotic strategy for decommissioning.

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ADVENTURES IN JAPAN – REACTOR CORES AND DRAGON EGGS

In October 2018, a team from the University of Bristol ventured to Japan. This was led by RAIN researchers Professor Tom Scott and Dr Yannick Verbelen, with Dr Chris Hutson and PhD student Dean Connor.