The Engineer Q&A: Robots in the Danger Zone

This month’s Q&A feature will look at developing robots to work in hazardous areas

snake-arm
OC Robotics ‘laser-snake’ snake-arm robot is designed for nuclear decommissioning

There are many places where, for a variety of reasons, humans can’t go. Some of them are iniquitous to human life, some are physically inaccessible, others would require too much cost to get people there. In many cases, the answer is often to send a robot. We’ve assembled a group of experts in developing robots to perform tasks deep under the sea; inside nuclear reactors and in high-radiation areas; in diasaster zones, in deep space and on other planets. Please use the comments facility on this article to send in your questions on how robots can be made to cope with the hazardous conditions while still carrying out the necessary tasks; how they can be controlled remotely and/or given autonomy; and what sort of challenges developers face. Please get your questions to us by 5pm on Wednesday 21st October, and we’ll publish answers to a selection of questions in our November issue and online.