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Robots are supposed to take over dangerous work

Whether in nuclear facilities or the disposal of contaminated sites, there are many jobs where people are exposed to major health risks. Research on the practical application of robots is being conducted at the new Competence Center ROBDEKON.

07 Aug. 2018
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Robots are supposed to take over dangerous work (Photo: Fraunhofer IOSB)

ROBDEKON stands for "Robotic Systems for Decontamination in Hostile Environments." This is a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with 11.5 million euros. Numerous partners under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Evaluation (IOSB) want to collaborate to develop mechanical solutions to save people from being in danger zones. The consortium unites "outstanding expertise in the fields of robotics, remediation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities," said ROBDEKON spokesman Professor Dr. Jürgen Beyerer. Fields of research include multisensorial environmental sensing, motion planning algorithms, and telepresence technologies. The focus is on innovative concepts such as climbing robots or automated construction machinery.

Exchange with the "outside world" is very important. The aim is to make the networked laboratories accessible to external interested parties and the research center intends to implement the research approaches into practicable systems with the help of users and partners from the industry. A coordination office is going to be set up at the Fraunhofer IOSB for this purpose.

The need for such solutions is likely to be great. Not least in Germany itself, where it has already been decided to exit from nuclear powe r by the end of 2022 at the latest. According to the Federal Agency for Nuclear Waste Management, a wealth of experience already exists from previous work on the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.