ALARP-Angel

Training and planning tool for operations in hazardous environments.

Overview

Operators in dangerous environments are exposed to a multitude of hazards. Current work procedures could be improved to make the risks to these people as-low-as-reasonable-practicable by improving planning, training and delivery of operations.

Approach

Workers of the nuclear industry are the focus in this specific project. Radiometric hazard is calculated by our N-Visage® Fusion technology. This is a software utility for characterising nuclear facilities. Multiple radiometric measurements can be combined into a single cohesive model, enabling the radiometric data to be easily understood. Although the focus is on protecting nuclear operators from dose uptake, any quantifiable hazard can be incorporated into the ALARP Angel system.

A wearable device is provided to operators in high hazard environments, which allows hazard uptake to be calculated. In particular, radiometric exposure can be calculated through the utilisation of the N-Visage Fusion technology with the support of an EPD. Operators can be tracked during their tasks and alarms can be sent to an operator’s wearable device if they need to be notified of risk.

During live operations, operators are tracked using our SLATE technology. This uses Scanning Laser
Rangefinder equipment that provides precise (1cm) position, size, shape and velocity information. Live sensor data allows hazard levels to be understood in real time. Operations supervisors will use this date to advise operators on how they should proceed with their work or if circumstances change.

ALARP Angel enables tailored task planning and dynamic task refinement in high-hazard environments delivering cost savings for clients through ensuring ALARP hazard exposure to operators and right-first-time outcomes.

Plan
•Characterisation of hazards and integration into digital asset
•Detail planning of task implementation

Rehearse
•Utilising the digital asset for both desk-based, VR and mockup trials

Do
•Tracking operators
•Live measurement of hazard and comparison against predicted

Solution

The system comprises an embedded computer running N-Visage® real-time 3D activity mapping software alongside autonomous exploration software from ORI; the system interfaces between an autonomous robot and radiation sensor enabling state-of-the-art characterisation capabilities to be integrated in a matter of hours, without any specialist knowledge of radiation measurement.

Optionally, the system can also integrate ORI’s Rooster multi-modality SLAM navigation system. Rooster combines data from multi-beam lidar, stereo camera and IMU to provide the most robust and accurate indoor localisation system available. Alternatively, for robots that already have SLAM capability, the Smart Radiation system can integrate with any third part SLAM that can transmit its map over a ROS interface.

The output of the system is a fully quantified 3D activity map for a single gamma-emitting isotope of choice, complete with uncertainty estimates. The raw data logs can be processed off-line using the N-Visage® Fusion desktop analysis software to map other isotope, classify waste, or predict the results of shielding or decontamination operations.

Combining the worlds widest used 3D radiation mapping code with new support for Compton cameras and the latest autonomy and navigation capabilities from ORI, the Smart Radiation system provides a quick and easy way to integrate state-of-the-art gamma mapping into any robot.

Conclusion

Mobile robotics is becoming the deployment tool of choice for nuclear characterisation applications. However, there is no one-size-fits all robotic platform, and robots are frequently required to carry application specific tools in addition to their radiation measurement apparatus. Today, handling these requirements means that each new robot deployment requires a dedicated robotics development project; this is a costly and time-consuming process and has become a significant obstacle to adopting mobile robots as a standard tool.