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Luleå University of Technology is a middle-sized institution in Sweden with more than 19,000 students and 1,500 employees. It is Scandinavia’s northernmost Institute of Technology.
The university is ranked among top universities in Mining Science that teaches you to understand and develop solutions for several of the global goals for sustainable development.
The university is famous for collaborations with various companies, such as Ericsson, Bosch and Scania.
Robots can investigate underground cable tunnels
Luleå University of Technology is a leader in applied Artificial intelligence (the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines) and robotics – research that benefits domains such as space, mines, health, and teaching and learning.
In collaboration with Svenska kraftnät the researchers in Robotics and AI at Luleå University work on identifying the key robotic technology and the key sensing technologies that can be able to provide fault detections in cabling installations. They can provide this by using a real-life mockup of cabling installation.
Professor George Nikolakopoulos, Professor of Robotics and AI, says: “The cabling tunnels share the same characteristics as mining or road tunnels, they are pitch dark, there is no GPS connectivity and no infrastructure to support the robot operations such as communication networks and localization systems”
Small agile robots
A challenge for the researchers is that the tunnels are small and demands a small agile robotic operation. “We need to be very careful in operating the robot and avoid collisions with the cabling installations” says Professor George Nikolakopoulos.
It can also be quite difficult to access the tunnels for a robot. Therefore, at times they might consider placing the robots permanently in the tunnel, becoming a part of the overall infrastructure.
A huge difference
If the inspection technology succeeds, it could make a huge difference for the human inspectors, because then they don’t have to work at these sometimes harsh and difficult conditions. The task could also most likely be performed faster and with increased frequencies.