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Hazardous Environments

Episode 5 – Robots for hazardous environments

Claire Asher 26th February, 2021


into the extremes

One way in which robots can be put to particularly good use is for performing tasks in environments that are too dangerous for humans to work, for example deep below ground or underwater, or in industrial environments like nuclear power plants.

In this episode, Claire was joined by Dr Simon Watson (University of Manchester) and Jonathon Witty (UK Atomic Energy Authority) to chat about some of the ways robotics is being used in hazardous places like these.

Dr Simon Watson is a Senior Lecturer in Robotic Systems in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester. His research focus is on mobile robots for the exploration and characterisation of hazardous and extreme environments, such as those found in the nuclear, offshore energy and mining industries. He has led the development of aquatic, aerial and ground robots and works closely with industry to take robotic platforms from University prototypes through to commercially viable systems.

Jonathon Witty is a mechatronics engineer in the cybernetics group of RACE, a department of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), having completed their graduate scheme after his engineering science degree at Oxford University. He largely works on integrating sensors with robotic systems, supporting maintenance, upgrades, and research for fusion energy devices. One key project has been supporting upgrades to the remote handling system for JET – the world’s most powerful active fusion machine – based in Oxfordshire.

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