Remote Inspection

  • AIR

    Researchers from Bristol have used drones equipped with gamma detectors to map the radiation around stores of contaminated earth around the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant.

  • ANYMAL

    ANYmal is a quadrupedal robot designed for autonomous operation in challenging environments. For our ANYmal platform we are developing the sensor integration and foot-placement. We will also investigate the development of a belly-crawl type of motion with the addition of rollers/wheels under the main body of the robot (note that this assumes relatively smooth/flat environment).

     

  • AVEXIS

    AQUATIC VEHICLE FOR EXPLORATION AND IN-SITU SENSING

     

    Remote Operated Vehicle, 150mm version

    AVEXIS is a small underwater vehicle that has been designed to survey and monitor challenging environments, particularly the legacy ponds and silos at Sellafield.

  • CARMA 2

    CONTINUOUS AUTOMATED RADIATION MONITORING ASSISTANCE

    CARMA 2 is the next generation in the research CARMA platform series of autonomous monitoring robotic systems designed for the nuclear industry. Primarily envisioned to continuously inspect a map of the ground for radioactive contamination from fixed or migrating sources. 

    CARMA 2 uses the latest robust robotic platform, integrating the Clearpath Jackal combined with a series of off-the-shelf components. The on-board 3D mapping uses ROS architecture, in combination with;

    • 2x 20m LIDARs from Hokuyo
    • 1x depth Orbec cameras
    • 2x Thermo Fisher Scientific DP6 & Radeye SX

    This Sellafield Ltd sponsored project was originally designed as a low cost prototype. It was initially deployed in December 2017 and again in January 2018 before the platform was designed to be more robust and ruggedized. A version of CARMA was entered into the IAEA’s 2017 Robotics Challenge for Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs).

    In May 2019, the CARMA platform successfully completed the first ever autonomous radiometric survey of a former alpha laboratory on the Sellafield Ltd site. Image courtesy of Sellafield Ltd.

    Given the success of CARMA, we have a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Nuvia Ltd to look at commercialising the platform. We are also developing a version to conduct outdoor radiometric surveys, in collaboration with Sellafield Ltd.

  • CORIN

    Development of hexapod capable of moving autonomously within a hazardous environment for remote inspection and object manipulation. The primary motivation for this work is to build and equip a hexapod with suitable hardware tools and software algorithms that would enable it to assist or carry out decommissioning task.

    Work packages include developing a hexapod robot with object manipulation capabilities, high payload, dynamic and static stability capabilities for manoeuvring within the environment.

  • FURO

    RADIOLOGICAL CHARTERISATION OF PIPEWORK AND DUCTING

    The Sellafield site has miles of pipework in old facilities that are in need of disposal. For this to be done properly the pipework needs to be surveyed to determine if any radiation is left inside the pipes. This is a disposable pipe-crawling robot that is able to semi-autonomously navigate through pipework and ducting mapping radiation as it moves. Pipework and ducting of unknown shape and size, containing post cleanout residue of nuclear material. Limited to a 50mm Diameter. Two prototype designs are being developed for a 150mm pipe using plastic 3D printed technology and laser cutting.

  • MALLARD

    SMALL AUTONOMOUS ROBOTIC DUCK

    MALLARD is an autonomous, water surface vehicle designed for inspection and monitoring of ponds. The platform was designed in response to the 2017 IAEA robotics challenge to provide an autonomous USV for conducting verification activities on spent fuel based on Cerenkov radiation detection.

    MALLARD has successfully passed through the first two stages of the challenge and is being prepared for field trials and its final evaluation.

    Mallard is built around a flexible central payload area that presently setup to carry a Cerenkov radiation detection camera. The platform has a passive stabilisation system provided by careful design buoyancy design, mass positioning and thruster location. The system has 4 thrusters, 2 in the x direction and two in the y direction meaning it can move in any direction whilst maintaining its orientation.

  • Mini-Robomach

    The Mini-RoboMach is configured as a “walking andsnaking” system, capable of performing holistic in-situ multi-task operations in challenging environments. A wide set of in-situ tasks can be achieved by each constitutive unit independently, or the system can be used as a single combined unit for even more complex tasks. It consists of two robots that are able to achieve unique in-situ tasks:

    a) The WalkingHex, a 24 DoFs parallel kinematic configuration, is utilised for providing both walking and 6-axis movement of the end-effector for performing in-situ operations over large workspace volumes;

    b) The SCArm, with its 25 DoFs, enables “snaking-in” capability for penetration into dense structures and the use of its last 6 DoFs to manipulate end-effectors for post-production operations in confined workspaces.

    As a combined system, the WalkingHex (i.e. the body) can execute a variety of the in-situ tasks on the base surface (ground) of the working environment and also act as a carrier for delivering the SCArm to desired locations, thus enabling the completion of in-situ works in otherwise unreachable positions in hazardous zones.

  • MIRRAX

    MINI ROBOT FOR RESTRICTED ACCESS EXPLORATION

    This platform is capable of entering hazardous environments through restricted access ports with a maximum diameter of 150mm (6”). The robot is an innovative new design which combines omnidirectional drive wheels with a reconfigurable footprint to enable the platform to manoeuver through a difficult environments.

    The final concept design of the MIRRAX came out of the requirement of carry mid-size sensors (e.g. LIDARs) and having enough battery charge to conduct at least 1 hour of surveying through the restricted access ports. These two factors require the robotic platform to be long and narrow in design, like a snake, and uses custom design omni-directional Mecanum wheels to allow for unique holonomic locomotion. The addition of 2 joints within the length of the robot allow it to be reconfigured in different stable profiles.

    KEY FEATURES:

    • Reconfigures to fit in 150mm entry port
    • 3D Laser scanning of difficult to reach locations
    • Easy user interface
    • 1 hour battery duration
    • Capable of gamma radiation measuring
    • Camera for remote operating
  • VEGA

    Exploration Platform Capable of Mounting Sensors and Manipulators

    The Vega robot is an ideal platform to perform essential radiation surveys in areas unsafe for humans. The Vega is a small, tracked ROV designed to be a low cost and modular solution to nuclear challenges.  This exploration platform can incorporate a range of sensors, cameras and a manipulator arm, offering full physical, chemical and radiological characterisation of unmapped spaces.

    Trials and Demonstrations

    • White trials conducted for key stakeholders at The University of Bristol, School of Physics and at The University of Bristol’s Fenswood facility where the robot was demonstrated moving over and around obstacles, detecting the environment in addition to sealed sources.
    • Demonstration in March 2020 at Dounreay nuclear site, Scotland.