Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023 - 17

performing uncertainty quantification
(UQ); Identifies potential electric
powertrain hazards and performs a
functional hazard analysis (FHA) for
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)/
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles.
Despite being developed for and
demonstrated with an application to
an electric UAV, the methodology is
generalized and can be implemented
in other domains. These domains
range from manufacturing facilities
to various autonomous vehicles.
NASA is actively seeking licensees
AI-Powered Machines for Hazardous Environments
Smart robots could think and act for themselves in some of the most tough places on
Earth and beyond.
The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
A
new generation of smart robots is
being developed at The University
of Manchester. These new AI-powered
machines will be designed to think
and act for themselves in some of
the most hazardous and toughest
places on Earth - and beyond. These
robots will be challenged to carry out
work too dangerous for humans.
'Hot robotic' systems were
originally designed to work in
radioactive environments found in
decommissioned nuclear reactors.
But future assignments for this
type of super machine will include
deployment in nuclear fusion
power, the offshore energy sector,
agriculture, and even outer space.
Manchester experts are applying
Investigating the flashover effects of a shielded drone in
The University of Manchester high voltage lab. (Image: The
University of Manchester)
UNMANNED SYSTEMS SPECIAL REPORT
AI technologies to 'hot robotics' as
they will increasingly need to act
independently of human operators as
they enter a range of danger zones
to carry out highly complex tasks.
An important challenge in the
nuclear industry is to improve robot
autonomy so that the technology can
be used to deliver safer, faster, and
cheaper decommissioning of legacy
power stations and other radioactive
facilities at sites such as
Sellafield and Dounreay.
To support this
challenge, the Robotics
and AI Collaboration
(RAICo) has been
established in Cumbria
as a joint research
program between The
University of Manchester,
the U.K. Atomic Energy
Agency (UKAEA),
Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear
Decommissioning
Authority and the
National Nuclear
Laboratory. The aim is
to develop advanced
robotic and AI solutions
and transferring these to
sites across the Nuclear
Decommissioning
Authority's estate in
the United Kingdom.
Academic engagement for
RAICo is being led by Professor
Barry Lennox and his team at The
University of Manchester. This
group leads the RAIN (Robotics and
Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear)
hub and has built up their expertise
after pioneering a series of resilient
robotic systems to carry out work in
many of the U.K's decommissioned
nuclear power stations.
Professor Lennox explained: " The
prefix 'hot' was introduced because
we were interested in deploying the
robots into active environments -
but we're now looking to expand
the hot so it can refer to more
general applications, including the
space, agriculture, and offshore
sectors. Many of the challenges are
similar, although the robots may
end up looking a bit different. "
Enhancing the AI capability of these
machines is the next big challenge for
his team, added Lennox. " AI introduces
lots of additional problems related
to ensuring that the AI will do what
we expect it to do and not cause
damage or risk the safety of humans. "
Expanding beyond nuclear
decommissioning, the Manchesterled
RAIN team is also establishing
joint programs of work with the UK
Atomic Energy Authority to support
them in the development of robotic
systems for nuclear fusion reactors.
For more information, contact
James Tallentire at james.tallentire@
manchester.ac.uk; 07-532-282-824.
FEBRUARY 2023 17
to commercialize this technology.
Please contact NASA's Licensing
Concierge at Agency-PatentLicensing@mail.nasa.gov
or call at
202-358-7432 to initiate licensing
discussions. For more information,
visit https://technology.nasa.gov.
https://technology.nasa.gov

Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023

Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023 - Cov1
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Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023 - 1
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Unmanned Systems Special Report. February 2023 - 17
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