Bristol public meet nuclear robots at weekend expo

Families in Bristol were introduced to an advanced team of robots, designed by researchers to solve major problems in high-hazard environments, as part of a nuclear robotics expo on the Bristol harbourside.

These robots, used by researchers at the University of Bristol Hot Robotics facility, aim to keep humans safe by allowing remote access to hazardous environments.

This EPSRC-funded event introduced a number of robotic ‘characters’ to the public, demonstrating the applications of programming, robots and sensors, and to encourage young people to consider careers in STEM.

Families were able to interact with an advanced team of robots, designed by researchers to solve major problems in high-hazard environments, at a two-day exhibition over the Easter holidays.

Over 2000 people stopped to participate across a wide spectrum of the population, with all ages having a go controlling the robots. The A1 robot dog (pictured below) proved incredibly popular with the humans, but not so popular with the real dogs!

The A1 robotic dog, is a smaller, even more agile version of the Boston Dynamics Spot robotic dog, famed for its work in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Other robots on showincluded the Proteus Lite System which acts as a pipe crawler inspection system with a camera, the KUKA LBR Iiwa 14 R820, a highly precise robot arm with integrated force/torque sensors for human-robot collaboration.

Also on display was the Superdroid HD2 - a heavy duty, treaded ground robot, which is able to climb over obstacles and upstairs, a DJI M600 Drone and Clearpath Husky A200, a medium-sized UGV that can accommodate various sensors and can be set up for autonomous missions.

Robotics Research Hubs

Hot Robotics 

NNUF Hot Robotics provides robots and facilities for hire, enabling nuclear research for radioactive environments.

The facility is arranged across three regional nodes with four research partners: RACE (UKAEA), University of Bristol, University of Manchester and the National Nuclear Laboratory. The facilities have Testing & Demonstration spaces for users.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN)

Project partners: Universities of Oxford, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Lancaster, Bristol and the UKAEA’s RACE centre.

The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN) Hub involves robotics and nuclear engineering experts across the UK and international partners from the US, Italy and Japan. It will undertake world-leading research and develop innovative technologies to address the challenges facing the nuclear industry, from decommissioning and waste management to fusion, plant life extension and new build.

National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (NCNR)

Project partners: Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Essex, Lincoln, West of England, Lancaster University, Queen Mary University of London.

The National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (NCNR) develops advanced robotics and AI technologies for nuclear industry applications. These are required to help deal with nuclear waste, and alleviate the need to send humans into hazardous environments. These advances are also needed to maintain and monitor the UK’s existing nuclear power stations, and facilitate the safe building and operation of new-build nuclear power-plants.

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