In order to improve exploration at CERN facilities, the CERNquadbot , an innovative robotic solution, successfully passed its first radiation protection test in the extensive northern area of the laboratory. This four-legged robot represents a milestone in CERN’s efforts to incorporate agile and adaptable robotic companions that can effectively navigate challenging environments.
Unlike its predecessors, which moved primarily on wheels or tracks, the CERNquadbot features four legs, providing exceptional stability and maneuverability on uneven and messy terrain. Chris McGreavy, robotics engineer in the Controls, Electronics and Mechatronics (CEM) group at CERN, highlights the importance of this advance and states: ““There are large bundles of cables and pipes loose on the ground that slide and move, making them impassable for wheeled robots and difficult even for humans .”
CERNquadbot: a four-legged robot ready to operate in complex environments
The versatility of this quadruped goes beyond its stability, as it is designed to explore the intricate caverns that house experiments such as the ALICE detector. With advanced control algorithms, these quadruped robots are equipped to monitor environmental conditions and quickly detect anomalies such as water leaks or fires .
McGreavy underlines their crucial role, stating: ” They can timely identify incidents such as water leaks or fires, as well as other situations such as false alarms, all of which can significantly affect the operation of machines in caverns and tunnels .”
It is important to note that each robot is meticulously designed at CERN to complement its counterparts, thus optimizing exploration capabilities. While the Train Inspection Monorail (TIM) excels at tracking long distances inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) from above, the CERNquadbot ventures into unexplored terrain on the ground below the beamline.
By allowing access to previously inaccessible terrain, the robot ushers in a new era of exploration at CERN facilities. Unlike its predecessors, limited by their modes of locomotion, this innovative robotic solution overcomes traditional restrictions, offering unprecedented access to diverse environments. As the Beams department continues to innovate and develop new robotic solutions, the opportunities for exploration within CERN’s complex infrastructure are virtually limitless.
The successful integration of the CERNquadbot into CERN’s robotics ecosystem represents a significant milestone in the laboratory’s pursuit of innovation and exploration. With its stability, versatility and agility, this quadruped robot promises to transform the way robots navigate and interact in unique on-site environments.
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Photo and Video: CERN