Nuclear and Other Harsh Environment Robotics Topic Group
The TG will essentially deal with robotics for environments that are so extremely harsh that they require robots not only because humans cannot work in these conditions, but because standard robots cannot withstand the impact of these environments. Such robots need to have specific design features of mechanical construction, mechatronics, navigation, communication and control systems, in order to work effectively in the given environment.
Many of the design issues related to the interaction with extreme harsh environment have not been adequately solved so far and will require significant effort on the part of researchers.
Our TG will act as a common platform for sharing of information, networking the European experts for solving the gaps utilising the synergy of their collaboration in both ways, in Horizon projects and in commercial activities.
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The exceptional interest of robotics experts and industry end-users in all workshops on harsh and mainly nuclear robotics held at the ERF over the last years showed that numerous researchers and engineers are encountering similar problems and are interested in creating a common platform for information exchange, networking and collaboration.
Following the Fukushima disaster, researchers in Japan and the US responded very dynamically to the increased requirement for robotic technology. This represents a significant opportunity for exporting EU expertise and technology, but there is also a significant risk that EU may lose its lead (or not fully exploit it) without intensive collaboration of European experts. And a forum such as the TG can substantially contribute to these activities.
The main TG target will be to identify the gaps that stand in the way of effective exploitation of robotic systems in harsh environment and in defining challenges and strategic steps in their research for maintaining the leading role of European robotics in this rapidly growing market.
Our goal is also to build a network of experts from this field worldwide.
Besides the nuclear domain, the object of our interest will also include chemically aggressive environments, extreme temperatures and pressures, extremely dusty/abrasive environment, explosive environment.
The follow-up steps will be:
- Preparation of the TG web page.
- Collecting and collating extreme environment challenges, tasks and end-user companies, and the robotics champions in those companies.
- Collecting a “directory of experts” including the leading European robotics researchers in the extreme environment domain.
- Continuing in regular international networking at ERF conferences.
- Promoting collaborations (e.g. bringing together international consortia to pursue Horizon projects, especially targeting and promoting industry-academia collaborations).
- Preparation of TG chapter for MAR and SRA.