Realistic simulated radiation sources and sensors for use with Gazebo
The Simulated Radiation Sensors and Sources offer a set of tools which can be used with the Robotic Operating System (ROS) and its preferred simulation environment Gazebo, to model radiation within an environment. This tool offers a user the ability to simulate and detect radiation within an environment. It takes into account distance drop off, material attenuation, sensor collimation and sensor sensitivity functions, which was previously not possible. These sensors and sources allow users to test algorithms and their resulting behaviours away from active sites and in numerous scenarios.
These sensors and sources have been validated against the widely used MCNP radiation simulator, offering near realistic results in a fraction of the time. It is however currently limited to mono-energetic radiation sources.
The Simulated Radiation Sensors and Sources allow users to test algorithms which respond to the presence of radiation in simulation. This allows for extensive testing of behaviours prior to deployment, in a number of scenarios, without risk of damage or contamination occurring, which was not previously possible. The tools also offer a number of ways of visualising the information through raw data, images, point clouds or costmaps, offering multiple ways of interfacing with the radiation detected. The simulations can be run in near real-time (assuming a sufficiently powerful computer is used) offering advantages over full MCNP modelling, but it is not without its limitations, i.e. mono-energetic point sources, no modelling of back scattering.
These tools will allow for missions or algorithms to be run off-site prior to deployment in a variety of scenarios to help validate the work.
To help the development of these tools researches and industry could engage with trials, find bugs, produce feedback and even offer suggestions of features they would like to include.
The Simulated Radiation Sensors and Sources are designed to be used with ROS and Gazebo. They have also been designed to integrate with the models produced by the World Builder Toolbox, which was also produced as part of the RAIN Hub.