Quadrupedal robotics for the nuclear industry
Today, let’s talk about quadrupedal robotics for the nuclear industry.
Nowadays, quadrupedal robots are considered for an extensive area of applications in various fields like space exploration, military application, industrial use, and many more. Could there be a place for them in the nuclear industry today?
Amongst all the mobile robots, quadrupedal robotics has reached a level of performance and maturity that enables some of the most advanced real-world applications with autonomous mobile robots. A growing number of platforms with different skills target different applications and markets. You would have seen many publicised examples from Boston Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Ghost Robotics, MIT, or IIT.
By far, the quadruped robots are the best choice amongst all legged robots. Their mobility and stability are unique. Their potential to explore in all-terrain is truly differentiating them. Furthermore, new trends led by progress in fields such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and cooperative work, are expanding those capabilities even more: enough for these legged robots to deal efficiently with more complex challenges.
For instance, with increasing efficiency, robotic systems that are able to explore and manipulate objects in extreme environments will prevent potential harm and increase productivity. The further addition of other technological bricks such as tools, detectors or manipulators will mean that, within the next few years, it would be possible to achieve autonomous inspection and maintenance of critical infrastructure in extreme environments.
What’s on your mind?
Driven by excellent research in academia and industry all around the world, these robots are now considered for applications like space exploration, mine inspection, fire-fighting… and as far as the nuclear industry is concerned, applications for this type of robots could be numerous, from co-bot mobile-toolbox to autonomous characterisation or even rescue operations.
In conclusion, to solve some of the challenges faced by the nuclear industry, agile, stable, safe and efficient new platforms will need to be created (and accepted). I believe that quadrupedal robots with their versatility, payload and stability, are definitively something the nuclear industry should consider for some of the challenges ahead. What about you? Do you think quadrupedal robots could have an advantage against other types of platforms for specific nuclear industry scenarios? Do you think they could be useful in nuclear decommissioning?
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