Sellafield Ltd uses a range of robots on site for remote handling and inspection – each of which has its own unique programming language and interface. Sellafield are seeking to move towards a robot control system that can provide a modularised ‘plug-and-play’ hardware reconfiguration solution.

Can you answer the challenge to create a standardised robotics control architecture which in the future may be used to operate all of Sellafield’s robots?

Watch our webinar which took place on 7th September 2020 to learn more about this challenge, the funding available and how to apply through Game Changers.

You can also download the Robotics Challenge Statement for a full description of challenge aims, current practice and the solutions Sellafield are seeking.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on Friday 18th September.

The situation

Sellafield Ltd uses a range of robots from different equipment manufacturers to tackle a wide variety of decommissioning activities. Robots offer Sellafield an opportunity for remote handling and inspection which helps to minimize employee exposure to hazardous environments, to increase working time in challenging environments and to reduce the overall cost of decommissioning.

The robots used on site differ in size and complexity. Sellafield operators are trained to program and use a variety of robotic systems. However, the differences in the programming language used by the equipment manufacturers means that the Sellafield workforce must maintain a working knowledge of many different systems. This limits the flexibility of delivery of work due to workforce resourcing requirements. The added complexity can result in more difficult and expensive robotic deployment.

The opportunity

Sellafield are seeking to move towards a reconfigurable system architecture that can provide a modularised ‘plug-and-play’ hardware reconfiguration solution, alongside standardised hardware and standard software libraries. Sellafield are looking for applicants to demonstrate their capability to develop robot task logic that is common to any compatible robot to ensure familiarity by the workforce across all platforms.  Compatibility of operation across platforms within the bounds of a common operation envelope must also be ensured.

What next?

The closing date for applications is Friday 18th September at 12pm.  Successful applicants will be notified by 5pm on Friday 25th September.

There is an expectation that successful applicants will participate in two activity days in Cumbria in November. The first will be a setup day and the second will be a demonstration day which will involve completing two discrete challenges. Further details of these challenge demonstration days will be provided to successful applicants.

How to apply

If you think you can solve this challenge, please submit a funding application using our online application form.  Guidance notes are available using the help buttons in the form.

Please note that you must submit a poster as part of your application.  You can save your application form as you complete it and return to it at a later time.

A PIN was published by the National Nuclear Laboratory in support of this challenge.  Please visit the Contracts Finder Service for more information.