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ICE: Intelligence in Challenging Environments

ICE combines the proven ability of snake-arm robots operable in hazardous and confined spaces, with cutting-edge advances in machine vision, augmented reality and autonomous behaviours to develop a highly intelligent and innovative system. RAS technology can drastically improve operator safety and task efficiency in routine inspection, identification and handling tasks in challenging environments found in the nuclear and aerospace industries. The consortium brings together Oxford Robotics Institute’s (ORI) mobile autonomy expertise, with OC Robotics’ unique snake-arm robot developments and UKAEA RACE’s (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) use-case knowledge and verification & validation (V&V) experience to establish a partnership ideally placed to develop and exploit an intelligent, practical and robust solution. Building upon existing snake-arm robot hardware, ICE will use advanced visualisation and recognition algorithms to locate features of interest in data gathered from a vision and imaging system. This mechatronic system of systems will perform autonomous operations needed by the cross-industry use cases. Augmented-reality techniques will allow the operator to make necessary high-level choices and, an intelligent automatically-generated report will present pertinent findings. The partners will use their extensive experience to develop innovations in algorithm design, multi-sensor system integration, task & motion planning and data fusion & perception to make ICE a success.