The National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (NCNR)

Principal investigator: Kaspar ALTHOEFER
Co-investigator(s): Andrea Cavallaro, Ildar FARKHATDINOV, Lorenzo JAMONE, Stefan Poslad and Miles Hansard
Funding source(s): EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
 Start: 02-10-2017  /  End: 31-03-2022
 Amount: £1,128,957

Nuclear facilities require a wide variety of robotics capabilities, engendering a variety of extreme RAI challenges. NCNR brings together a diverse consortium of experts in robotics, AI, sensors, radiation and resilient embedded systems, to address these complex problems. In high gamma environments, human entries are not possible at all. In alpha-contaminated environments, air-fed suited human entries are possible, but engender significant secondary waste (contaminated suits), and reduced worker capability. We have a duty to eliminate the need for humans to enter such hazardous environments wherever technologically possible. Hence, nuclear robots will typically be remote from human controllers, creating significant opportunities for advanced telepresence. However, limited bandwidth and situational awareness demand increased intelligence and autonomous control capabilities on the robot, especially for performing complex manipulations. Shared control, where both human and AI collaboratively control the robot, will be critical because i) safety-critical environments demand a human in the loop, however ii) complex remote actions are too difficult for a human to perform reliably and efficiently.