Multi-Robot Systems for the Inspection and Maintenance of Nuclear Fusion Infrastructure


Funding: : UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA, £68,000.00) Duration: 10/2020 until 9/2023 Role: Co-Investigator


Nuclear fusion is an environmentally friendly source of energy that produces no CO2 or other harmful emissions, and therefore does not lead to global warming. This exciting PhD project will contribute to the ongoing research effort to make the technology viable by developing solutions for the effective use of multi-robot systems for the inspection of nuclear fusion infrastructure.

The operation of a fusion reactor like the planned European DEMOnstration power plant DEMO will require the use of remotely-operated robotic systems in challenging inspection and maintenance procedures. These procedures must be carried out in a timely and reliable manner, and in a confined and harsh environment. The project will devise algorithms and software tools for achieving these goals through robot teaming. This will involve developing techniques for the dynamic formation of small teams of remotely-operated robots (out of a larger pool of robots available for multiple tasks), for the purpose of carrying out critical inspection and maintenance procedures. The successful execution of these procedures will be essential for ensuring the reactor’s efficiency and for extending the lifetime of its components.

The project is jointly funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Remote Applications in Challenging Environments programme, by the York-led Assuring Autonomy International Programme, and by the University of York’s Department of Computer Science.