Robotics in Hazardous Applications

James Trevelyan, Khang Sungchul, William Hamel

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments. Chapter 60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners. In this chapter we review tangible progress towards robots that perform routine work in places too dangerous for humans. Researchers still have many challenges ahead of them but there has been remarkable progress in some areas. Hazardous environments present special challenges for the accomplishment of desired tasks depending on the nature and magnitude of the hazards. Hazards may be present in the form of radiation, toxic contamination, falling objects or potential explosions. Technology that specialized engineering companies can develop and sell without active help from researchers marks the frontier of commercial feasibility. Just inside this border lie teleoperated robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and for under-water engineering work. Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresenceand teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution. However, most routine applications in hazardous environments still lie far beyond the feasibility frontier. Fire fighting, remediating nuclear contamination, reactor decommissioning, tunneling, underwater engineering, underground mining and clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance still present many unsolved problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSpringer Handbook of Robotics
    EditorsOussama Khatib, Bruno Siciliano
    Place of PublicationNetherlands
    Number of pages28
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319325521
    ISBN (Print)9783319325507
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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