Technology

AI bots set to clean up nuclear waste at Sellafield

22 February 2017 | By Tom Ravenscroft

Forth Engineering, a robotics company working at Europe’s largest nuclear site, is developing a six-legged machine that will work handling nuclear waste in areas to dangerous for humans to enter.

The £500,000, six-legged machines, which are about the size of a coffee table, are each armed with a giant pincer on the front to grab contaminated material. The obvious advantage that these robots have over humans is that they can operate in contaminated areas.

In fact, the extremely hostile working environment at Sellafield is proving to be a fertile location for the research and development of drones and robots. Along with being manually operated the robots will be loaded with artificial intelligence software that will allow a team of the robots to work independently.

According to Mark Telford, managing director for Forth Engineering, the robots will communicate with each other and work as a team to complete tasks. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said: “The robot will make its own decisions on how it walks, what it sees, and its interpretation of its environment.

At the moment it is unclear how the robots will deal with long-term exposure to radiation and it is likely that these robots will not be coming back from some of the most dangerous areas

Image: Forth Engineering