Human factors issues in telerobotic decommissioning of legacy nuclear facilities

Talha, Mohammed (2019). Human factors issues in telerobotic decommissioning of legacy nuclear facilities. University of Birmingham. Eng.D.

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This thesis investigates the problems of enabling human workers to control remote robots, to achieve decommissioning of contaminated nuclear facilities, which are hazardous for human workers to enter.

The mainstream robotics literature predominantly reports novel mechanisms and novel control algorithms. In contrast, this thesis proposes experimental methodologies for objectively evaluating the performance of both a robot and its remote human operator, when challenged with carrying out industrially relevant remote manipulation tasks.

Initial experiments use a variety of metrics to evaluate the performance of human test-subjects. Results show that: conventional telemanipulation is extremely slow and difficult; metrics for usability of such technology can be conflicting and hard to interpret; aptitude for telemanipulation varies significantly between individuals; however such aptitude may be rendered predictable by using simple spatial awareness tests. Additional experiments suggest that autonomous robotics methods (e.g. vision-guided grasping) can significantly assist the operator.

A novel approach to telemanipulation is proposed, in which an ``orbital camera`` enables the human operator to select arbitrary views of the scene, with the robot's motions transformed into the orbital view coordinate frame. This approach is useful for overcoming the severe depth perception problems of conventional fixed camera views.

Finally, a novel computer vision algorithm is proposed for target tracking. Such an algorithm could be used to enable an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fixate on part of the workspace, e.g. a manipulated object, to provide the proposed orbital camera view.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Eng.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Eng.D.
Stone 1958-, Robert J. (Robert John)UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Physics & Astronomy
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)


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