Robopas is a new CERN robot that detects radiation leaks in complex experimental areas
February 8, 2024

Robopas is a new CERN robot that detects radiation leaks in complex experimental areas

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are testing a new type of robot that should identify potential radiation leaks in environments that are challenging for both humans and other robots at the center to navigate. A new CERN robot that looks like a dog or similar four-legged animal has successfully completed one of the radiation protection tests in the so-called North Zone, which is the center’s largest experimental area.

“In this area on the floor there are large bundles of loose wires and pipes that slide and move, making them impassable for wheeled robots and difficult for humans to pass,” says Chris McGravy, a robotics engineer for the CERN website.

The team behind the project is now developing advanced control algorithms to allow scientists to use the robot long-term in experimental caves, such as the ALICE detector, which is dedicated to heavy ion physics.

In time, “robops” such as the new CERN robot will be able to navigate almost the entire surface of the experimental caves. In this way, they will be able to monitor the state of the caves, the conditions in the environment, as well as potential water leaks, fires or other leaks.

You can see the robot in action in the video below:

The CERN organization already has a long history of using robots, including three types of mechanical helpers.

These are: CERNbot, a modular platform with arms for repair, maintenance and inspection; CRANEbot, designed for installation and maintenance of equipment in high-radiation areas and the Train Inspection Monorail (TIM), which can monitor and travel inside the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the largest particle accelerator in the world.

However, since none of these robots can access the buried or complex areas of caves, the new robops can collect valuable data for machine operation – ushering in a new era for inspecting and monitoring high-value, but also high-risk, laboratory equipment.