Robot with machine vision can quickly neutralize nuclear reactors

Over time, nuclear power plants have become unfit for use, and after about 60 years after the launch of their power units require decommissioning. At this point in the world in various stages of disassembly are about 138 nuclear power units, and this long, demanding and expensive work in dangerous conditions, mostly performed by remote robots. They have their flaws, but engineers from Lancaster University have eliminated one of them with the help of semi-automatic control system.

Robot with machine vision can quickly neutralize nuclear reactors

One of the main disadvantages of robots to bring the nuclear power plant is the high complexity of management. In order not to expose themselves to radiation, the staff is forced to manipulate the robotic arms at a distance of at least 100 meters, focusing on data from the built-in cameras. To control joysticks are usually used, and to learn to make accurate movement mechanism, the operators need extremely high qualification.

Robot taught to neutralize nuclear power plants

Robot created in the city of Lancaster, research university, is much easier to manage, as most actions are performed independently. Since the work with radioactive substances requires maximum accuracy, the developers deliberately did not make it completely self-contained - for the quality of dismantling the remains responsible person, but in this case it does not need to control every movement of the robot. The design of the new hydraulic robot includes arms mechanical arms, camera with object recognition function and a sensor Microsoft Kinect motion. With this set, the robot can cut the pipe on their own - a person just click on the object on the display, which should deal with the robot.

Using a single camera, our system is mounted on the robot focused on the task in harsh environments. It allows the operator to instruct the robotic arm to perform gripping and cutting pipes in just four mouse clicks, - explained James Taylor, professor of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Lancaster.

the semi-autonomous system has been tested in laboratory conditions - to use his staff handled the pipe cutting much faster than their counterparts with a fully controlled robots. According to engineers at the time the system needs to be sound and temperature sensors to the control staff it was better informed about the conditions surrounding the robot. To demonstrate the different indicators, the developers plan to create a graphical user interface.

How can robots help defuse the nuclear reactors?

Great contribution to the disposal of nuclear reactors robots made in 2011, after the accident at the nuclear power plant Fukushima-1. Cause of the accident was a strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami - they put out of action means power diesel generators. Subsequently, the reactor core melted, and in the three units having explosions. The accident claimed the lives of three people, two of whom drowned in the basement, and one died of cancer caused by strong irradiation. For the exploration of radioactive territory PackBot robots have been used, which in a few hours time to explore all the three blocks. They successfully measured the level of exposure, temperature and humidity alarm zone, and broadcast everything that happens on the screen of researchers (in the video below). During follow-intelligence robots faced with obstacles in the form of debris, so the robot to remove the rubble was developed in 2016.

Robot with machine vision can quickly neutralize nuclear reactors

One of the worst disasters in modern history has changed the Japanese robotics. How it affected such a huge industry, you can read in our special material.

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