Snake robot

Snake robot inspecting nuclear power objects

The Austrian nuclear power plant of Zwentendorf is a fine test platform for robots and other similar technologies. The station was constructed in the 1970th years, but never included. Thus, in premises of station there are no radiation sources, toxic elements and other things causing fear. But the designs of station bound by pipes of various diameter, and remained untouched, giving opportunity to researchers to carry out comprehensive tests of the snake robot. From the moment of accident at Japanese nuclear station Fukushima, there was developeda number of robots which had to assist in diagnostics of damages and elimination of consequences of accident. However, components of nuclear stations are entangled by many kilometers of pipelines of various diameter. It isn’t possible to examine components within nuclear stations with help of the developed robots . Only the robot snake is capable to solve this problem. The robot snake can move in pipes, it has the diameter of 15 centimeters, LED light sources and high-quality cameras. The robot moves in a pipe, rotating as a corkscrew, and the software in real time holds the picture from the robot camera in one standard position. The length of its body consisting of 16 sections, makes 97 centimeters. Mobile joints of sections allow the robot not only to move as a snake, but also to turn around cylindrical objects, carrying out lifting or descent. The only problem consists in need of use of an electric cable on which to the robot energy moves and signals control are transferred. Carrying out tests, researchers used a cable, 18 meters long, but the cable and on bigger distance is quite enough to drag robot forces.  By the words of the professor of a robotics the snake robot  can move in such places where people and other robots can’t get. It is especially important for those parts of nuclear stations which are polluted by radiation. Also the robot can rise or fall on vertical pipes, move in pipes with repeated bends and many other things that can’t achieve with help of a borescope. Before tests at nuclear station the snake robot took part in training search and rescue operations where it proved from the best party. In the near future researchers are going to make a design of the robot waterproof and steady against hostile environment that will allow the snake robot to float in water and to work in the conditions of functioning nuclear power plants, in their most dangerous zones.