Rescue robot developed for disaster recovery in hazardous environments

A remotely operated rescue robot has been built to help with disaster recovery at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria.

Forth, based in the UK, has developed the rescue robot for recovery in hazardous industrial environments.

In the event of an incident, the robot can be sent in remotely and operated at a safe distance from a command and control centre.

Previous machines which have been used by Sellafield have needed a tether. This is the first product of its type which has been developed for the plant which can be remotely operated.

The robot has a number of features that designers hope will make it useful in emergency situations:

  • The robot has the ability to tow a trailer with a fitted hopper that can disperse a bund of sand to contain any type of spillage

  • Also fitted to the robot is an affixative spraying system that is used assist in the containment of a nuclear spillage

  • It also has the use of a large grapple hook that will be used to move any obstruction the robot may come across. 

A specialist 700bar rescue tool similar to that used by the UK Fire and Rescue Service has also been fitted to the robot so it can cut through any hazards in its way and access the rescue zone.

A mobile command and control centre, fitted with live video streaming capability, will be towed to within a 150-metre radius of the rescue zone.

The rescue robot will be deployed and will be able to be safely and remotely operated throughout its mission.

Mr Telford added: “We can adapt this technology for any industry or any organisation which would benefit from a rescue robot helping keep humans safe.

“We have developed this 1.6-tonne robot because it was what was required for this particular task. 

“But we could develop a product of any size - it could be 10-tonnes, for example, if that was what was needed - and fitted with any type of tools for a range of tasks.

“It’s the ability to remotely operate it from a control and command centre which makes it so versatile in a range of hazardous environments.”