Despite enormous remote handling requirements, remarkably very few robots are being used by the nuclear industry. Most of the remote handling tasks are still performed manually, using conventional mechanical master‐slave devices. The few robotic manipulators deployed are directly tele‐operated in rudimentary ways, with almost no autonomy or even a pre‐programmed motion. In addition, majority of these robots are under‐sensored (i.e. with no proprioception), which prevents them to use for automatic tasks. In this context, primarily this chapter discusses the human operator performance in accomplishing heavy‐duty remote handling tasks in hazardous environments such as nuclear decommissioning. Multiple factors are evaluated to analyse the human operators’ performance and workload. Also, direct human tele‐operation is compared against human‐supervised semi‐autonomous control exploiting computer vision. Secondarily, a vision‐guided solution towards enabling advanced control and automating the under‐sensored robots is presented. Maintaining the coherence with real nuclear scenario, the experiments are conducted in the lab environment and results are discussed.
Part of the book: Robots Operating in Hazardous Environments