RACE recently held a workshop at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), which focussed on the challenges of creating Standardised Software Frameworks for robotics in nuclear environments.
As robots are increasingly being considered as solutions to address challenges in multiple industries, new techniques and technologies are becoming available with application in challenging environments such as space and offshore.
However, many are not intended for the niche requirements found in nuclear environments. Many of these operations last for several decades, and over that time the requirements of technologies may change. In nuclear there is therefore a need for flexible, modular software which can adapt to meet these evolving needs. Software also needs to be agile under uncertain conditions, and highly dependable. In certain cases, software requires approval from nuclear regulators.
Ipek Caliskanelli, Robotics Research Engineer at RACE who led the workshop explains: “The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness on nuclear challenges, and to attract academics to help solving these challenges together. The essence is to create a nuclear community to help solving these problems together.”
In the workshop, representatives from UKAEA’s robotics department RACE introduced technologies under active development that are specifically developed for the nuclear sector – including fusion maintenance, nuclear clean-up, decommissioning and maintenance of future power plants.
This cross-pollinating interaction included individuals from the broader fields of robotics and software engineering research, as well as international nuclear organisations like RACE, TEPCO, CERN, ITER and DEMO.
“It was fantastic to bring together for the first time a group of people representing software challenges for robotics in nuclear environments alongside leading researchers from around the world working on technologies that may help to address those challenges.” said RACE’s Head of Research, Rob Skilton.
“The workshop was well-received, and new links were formed between groups with shared challenges. It was fantastic to share these discussions and research opportunities with the wider community to help to attract the best minds to work on fusion and decommissioning relevant problems.”
Watch the series here: