LONDON: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA),the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) have announced three innovators which have won a share of £1.3 million funding to develop four cutting-edge telexistence projects.
TNO, Sheffield University and Cyberselves Universal Ltd, will develop four projects over the next 10 months that will then be tested and demonstrated next year.
The telexistence technology being developed has the potential to give those working in hazardous environments the capability to undertake tasks without physically being present, which can decrease risk and reduce the logistical burden associated with dangerous operations.
The companies were tasked with evaluating their innovations against ‘use cases’ in:
- Specialist Nuclear Decommissioning Tasks
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
- Defence and Security Medical applications
NDA group companies were involved in developing the Special Nuclear Decommissioning Tasks ‘use case’ drawing on the experience and previous work in glove box decommissioning, remote handling and waste repackaging.
Andrew Gray, the NDA’s Innovation Delivery Manager, said:
“We’re excited to be working with DASA and Dstl on this competition. Advancing technologies in the area of telexistence will help us deliver our decommissioning mission more safely, securely and efficiently in enabling us to move humans away from harm.
“It’s our aim to reduce decommissioning activities carried out by humans in hazardous environments by 50% by 2030. We’re really encouraged to see such fantastic solutions being put forward by the supply chain.”
Mark Hodder, Project Manager at Dstl, added:
“The DASA Telexistence: Phase 2 competition has been a great success in finding the latest innovators to collaborate with Dstl and NDA to develop a complete system using science and technology to integrate and create a platform using telepresence, robotics and haptics together to achieve results.”
The NDA’s partnership with Dstl and DASA, is an example of cross-government diversification and collaboration which has allowed access to a wider talent pool and the opportunity to work with smaller organisations that are not already part of the nuclear supply chain.
Phase 2 of the competition follows on from Phase 1, where £570K worth of contracts were awarded to nine organisations delivering 11 projects.