Robotics in extreme environments (image)

7 October 2015 | University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK




Registration and refreshments


Chairman’s welcome and introduction

Professor Xiu-Tian Yan, Director of Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Laboratory (SMeSTech), Strathclyde Space Institute


Keynote address: Persistently autonomous robots – from invention to innovation and lessons from marine robotics

  • The challenges of operating robots in unstructured, unknown environments
  • Hear about the new approaches to the development of persistent or long-term autonomy
  • Review the current state of the UK Innovation landscape following the publication of the 2014 RAS2020 Strategy guiding UK Government strategic investments

Professor David Lane, Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, Heriot-Watt University


Robotic Manipulation for Nuclear Sort and Segregation' (RoMaNs) project

  • An overview of the RoMaNs project and the collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), with France's Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) and the National Centre for Scientific Research, together with the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany
  • An update on latest cutting edge robotic technologies including developing new kinds of robotic hardware and mechanisms, interfaces for human-controlled (tele-operated) robots, and new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for vision, sensing, planning and control to enable the robots to execute grasps and manipulative actions autonomously
  • An insight into the new three year project with KAERI, the South Korea nuclear agency, which started 1st April as well as their work sponsored by Ministry of Defence, looking at how to blend direct human control with autonomous robot control, for robotics in bomb-disposal, rescue and other hazardous activities

Dr Rustam Stolkin, Senior Fellow in Robotics, University of Birmingham


Refreshments and networking


Decommissioning on nuclear sites

  • Discover the vast scale of decommissioning and the implications involved
  • Understand the challenges of designing robots that are able to explore radioactive environments
  • Learn about the use of robotics in the decommissioning process

Tom Robinson, Future Decommissioning, Sellafield Ltd


OC Robotics Snake-arm robots for confined and hazardous environments

  • Introduction to snake-arm robots
  • Hear about the use of teleoperation within Nuclear decommissioning
  • Find out how to improve safety within tunnel boring
  • Gain insight form case studies of snake-arms in extreme environments

Adam Mallion, Senior Business & Project Manager, OC Robotics




Navigation algorithm using massively parallel IMU sensors

  • How to improve the navigation accuracy where GPS is not available?
  • How to process measurements from many IMU sensors to improve navigation accuracy?

Dr Jongrae Kim, Associate Professor, University of Leeds


Project GRAID – robots for extreme gas pressure pipe inspection

  • An overview of the National Grid Gas Transmission Innovation project, Project GRAID, a four year, £5.7m, Network Innovation Competition (NIC) winner, funded through OFGEM (UK regulator)
  • Hear about the collaborative approach for the development of an 'agile' robotic platform and supporting systems for inspection of buried high pressure UK gas transmission pipework
  • How does the robot cope with the extreme environment, negotiate the complex configurations (bends and diameters), difficulties in pipe features, and obstacles?

Wez Little, Innovations Director, Synthotech Ltd


Challenges and solutions of robotics space missions

  • Technical challenges of robots operating in the vacuum of space
  • How do you project against the dangerous radiations of the Sun?
  • What are the hardware restrictions for operating robots in space?

Shaun Whitehead, Director, Scoutek


Refreshments and networking


Enabling materials for extreme environment robotics; piezoelectric sensors, actuators and transducers

  • Piezoelectric materials are the irreplaceable heart of electro-mechanical sensors and motors
  • Engineered from the atoms up, Ionix has developed a range of materials able to withstand a range of demanding environments from high temperature and pressures to radiation
  • Presented is a case study of structural health monitoring devices developed for autonomous high temperature inspection of nuclear energy pipelines

Dr Tim Stevenson, Chief Operating Officer, Ionix Advanced Technologies Ltd


Reconfigurable robotics architectures – challenges and opportunities

  • The benefits of autonomous robotics applications being able to adapt to a changes in circumstances, perform new tasks, recover from damage, etc
  • Hybrid agent architectures for robotic systems
  • Challenges of reconfiguration

Michael Fisher, Professor of Computer Science and Director, Centre for Autonomous Systems Technology, University of Liverpool


Space robotic technologies for agriculture applications - Agribot

  • Hear about the Agribot project funded by Newton Programme
  • What are the benefits in using space robotics for agricultural applications?
  • Find out about upcoming funding opportunities

Professor Xiu-Tian Yan, Director of Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Laboratory (SMeSTech), Strathclyde Space Institute


Chairman’s final remarks




Programme is correct at time of publication. Topics and speakers are subject to change.