European Teleman project: Teleoperated vehicle system for remote inspection in hazardous environments - Sensor integration, fault tolerance and control systems for inspection.

  • Collie, Arther (PI)
  • Luk, Bing Lam (CoI)
  • Cooke, David (CoI)
  • Virk, Gurvinder (CoI)
  • White, Tim (CoI)
  • Sanders, David (CoI)
  • Hewer, Neal (CoI)
  • Chen, Sheng (CoI)
  • Billingsley, John (CoI)
  • Urwin-Wright, Stephen D. (CoI)
  • Bevan, Neal (CoI)

    Project Details


    The project was coordinated by Portsmouth Technology Consultants Ltd UK and created an articulated limbed, climbing and walking light mobile machine for use in disordered nuclear environments, and conducted a feasibility study and prototype construction of a vehicle capable of carrying modular work packages such as manipulators, instruments, vision and navigational equipment.

    The new machine was a scorpion-like machine with a low, enclosed sealed body and articulated legs. The legs were each be fitted with grippers which enabled it to walk or climb vertically on a wide variety of surfaces. It was also able to negotiate the transitions between planes, both internally and externally.

    An articulated limbed, climbing and walking light mobile machine (ROBVG III) was created for use in disordered nuclear environments.

    A new type of robot leg was designed, built and tested. In connection with this, control components suitable for high pressure pneumatic systems were developed. These provided the power to weight ratio required to match as far as possible the wide user requirements. A second prototype leg made of composite materials was also produced. Leg movement profile software was written in C and various radiation tolerant elements of the on board control system have been identified and tested. Sensors were selected and tested, and development of sensor data processing has been done. Concepts for the graphical user interface and its integration with pilot functions have been established and gripper feet have been designed for some target conditions.

    A single prototype leg and its control system were manufactured and tested so that leg coordination and command communication software may be developed, before a complete robot is built. Designs for gripper feet for the limbs will be produced with special consideration to the user requirements. A light-weight manipulator suitable for mounting on the vehicle was developed. Navigational feedback, attitude and positional sensors were selected and developed, and data from these sensors will be processed to provide feedback via a graphical user interface. Software for specific tasks and the integration of pilot functions was created to provide the tele-operator with a suitable control station. A full evaluation and presentation of choices of cable management and inboard power systems was undertaken.

    The robot chassis and sensor/navigation units were fully tested in the laboratory, then integrated and functionality tests defined by the users group were undertaken to demonstrate the vehicle in a variety of situations typical of nuclear environments. A life-sized mock-up of the target situation was made available at Nuclear Electric's existing test facilities.

    As part of this project, Barry Haynes completed his Phd in 1997 follwoing an investigation of neural network adaptive controllers for non-linear systems. The PhD was directed by R Papademetriou and supervised by DA Sanders.

    Layperson's description

    A European Project from Jan 1992 to Feb 1996 worth £517,244 and led by Portsmouth Technology Consultants Ltd to create a walking and climbing robot called Robug 3 as part of the European Teleman Programme.

    Key findings

    The project:

    1. Investigated user requirements and prepare a functional specification;
    2. created a new prototype light, high-power-to-weight ratio, articulated limb climbing robot fitted with grippers for a wide variety of conditions;
    3. integrated a prototype tele-operated guidance and navigation system with a radiation resistant tele-operated control system;
    4. explored the use of an umbilical cable and intelligent cable reel system, and a self-powering unit with no umbilical;
    5. designed and built a manipulator suited to the new robot.
    Short titleAn Articulated Limb Climbing Robot
    Effective start/end date1/01/931/02/96


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