Expected Impact

SheaRIOS will contribute to all the expected impact of this Innovation Action on end-user research.

Increasing the market-readiness of robotics applications including in terms of technological validation outside the laboratory;

SheaRIOS is increasing the market-readiness level of the robotic deployment of high-quality NDT techniques outside the laboratory by overcoming several barriers, which are presented in the following table.

Barrier to increasing market-readiness How does SheaRIOS address each barrier
Mobility within the environment: Inspection areas on WTBs are hard to reach even for human inspectors. Even if the robot is located on the blade, it is hard to reach every area that needs inspection. The combination of the robots in SheaRIOS concept tackle this challenge step by step. Employing the deployment platform tackles the problem of reaching the blade and the suction crawler is deployed on the blade to actually inspect it. Due to suction, the crawler is inherently safe to move along and around the WTB and inspect every part of it.
Control and automation: Reliable communication with both robots is essential to maintain control. In case of communication loss, higher levels of autonomy are necessary to keep the robots operational and the system intrinsically safe. SheaRIOS is remotely controlled through a high quality, high bandwidth data link provided to the robots through an umbilical cable. It transfers not only control commands but also visual feedback to the operator in a user-friendly GUI. Special manual overrides have been considered; in the unlikely event of connection loss, the system will activate fail-safe mechanisms and the robot will be restored safely, without damage and without imposing any risk on others.
Power and communications: Providing robots with steady power and robust communications during long operating time is key. SheaRIOS will run on a battery backup that will provide emergency power when the input power source fails. The on-battery runtime of the uninterruptible power will be relatively short (only a few minutes) but sufficient to shut down the system and initiate manual overrides.
Inspection technology: There are many inspection technologies; however not all are suited for robotic deployment. In our previous project, DASHWIN, we validated the adaptations proposed here and we are confident that SheaRIOS will meet the requirements of robotic deployment.