Robotics in Hazardous Applications

  • James Trevelyan
  • William R. Hamel
  • Sung-Chul Kang
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments. Chapter  60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners. In this chapter we review tangible progress towards robots that perform routine work in places too dangerous for humans. Researchers still have many challenges ahead of them but there has been remarkable progress in some areas. Hazardous environments present special challenges for the accomplishment of desired tasks depending on the nature and magnitude of the hazards. Hazards may be present in the form of radiation, toxic contamination, falling objects or potential explosions. Technology that specialized engineering companies can develop and sell without active help from researchers marks the frontier of commercial feasibility. Just inside this border lie teleoperated robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD ) and for underwater engineering work. Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresence and teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution. However, most routine applications in hazardous environments still lie far beyond the feasibility frontier. Fire fighting, remediating nuclear contamination, reactor decommissioning, tunneling, underwater engineering, underground mining and clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance still present many unsolved problems.


Mobile Robot Hazardous Environment Remote Operation Slave Manipulator Cluster Bomb 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





advanced servomanipulator


anti-tank mine




cluster bomb


Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique


deactivation and decommissioning


electrical master–slave manipulator


explosive ordnance disposal


Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining


global positioning system


high definition


head-mounted display


handheld standoff mine detection system


International Campaign to Ban Landmines


improvised explosive device


Afghanistan Mine Action Center


microelectromechanical system




master–slave manipulator


National Aeronautics and Space Agency


remotely operated vehicle


Robotics and Remote Systems Division


spallation neutron source




teleoperated small emplacement excavator


unmanned aerial vehicle


unexploded ordnance


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Trevelyan
    • 1
  • William R. Hamel
    • 2
  • Sung-Chul Kang
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Chemical EngineeringThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Center for BionicsKorea Institute of Science and TechnologySeoulKorea

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