Robotics for Nuclear Environments

The cost of cleaning up the UK's existing nuclear facilities has been estimated to be between £95 billion and £219 billion over the next 120 years.

The harsh conditions within these facilities means human access is highly restricted and much of the work will need to be completed by robots. Present robotics technology is not capable of completing many of the tasks that will be required. The vision for this project is to deliver the step changes in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) capability that are necessary to overcome crucial challenges facing the nuclear industry in the coming decades.

Alan Winfield and Tony Pipe will contribute to the project alongside researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham as well as industrial partners Sellafield Ltd, EdF Energy, UKAEA and NuGen. The consortium will develop robots which have improved power, sensing, communications and processing power. They will also develop systems which are able to address issues around grasping and manipulation, computer vision and perception. Importantly the robots will be autonomous – able to operate without direct supervision by humans.

This project is funded by the EPSRC.

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