Copyright: trueffelpix / 123RF Stock Photo
Energy Eniday Innovation Research and development Technology

AI changes the robots in the energy sector

Since the oil price crash of the summer 2014, robots dedicated to either welding, drilling or inspection, but that are controlled by humans, have been widely adopted…

Now, advances in artificial intelligence software and robotics research offer the prospect of freeing humans from dangerous and difficult tasks such as decommissioning nuclear plants and offshore oil and gas installations, or inspecting, maintaining and repairing power lines, underwater pipelines and tall wind turbines.

Increasingly, both energy companies and researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are recognizing the need for, and value of, employing intelligent robotsas a means of increasing efficiency, cutting operational costs, speeding up processes and increasing worker safety. AI software, combined with machine learning, endows robots with decision-making capacity, reducing the need for human monitoring and control. AI robots can now read instruments and detect whether operational conditions are normal, and gather data and detect potential leaks. The most sophisticated robots will be wholly autonomous with the ability to learn and self-improve.

Decommissioning nuclear power

We have reached take-off in decommissioning nuclear plants. In the UK alone, the clean-up and decommissioning of about 5.5 tons (4.9 million tonnes) of nuclear waste is estimated to cost at least $264.2 billion (£200 billion). To meet this important need, a team of computer scientists from the University of Lincoln, are developing a series of mobile AI-enabled robots to deal with nuclear-waste handling, cell decommissioning and site monitoring. One mobile robot under development has a dedicated bimanual arm, operated by `shared autonomy’ – where the machine is able to operate autonomously while still having humans as key decision-makers – or via remote control. Professor Gerhard Neumann, from the School of Computer Science notes, “Recent disaster situations such as Fukushima have shown the crucial importance of robotics technology for monitoring and intervention, which is missing up-to-date, making our work even more vital”. Read more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.