Chemical and petrochemical plants are complex systems consisting of several interconnected process units. Given the exposure to toxic gases, heat and the risk of spillage and catastrophic failures, such plants present challenging environments for the employees. Modern chemical plants will be designed with an extensive use of robotics and automation for manufacturing, monitoring, quality control, inspection and material handling processes.
We are collaborating with the Surrey Technology For Autonomous Systems And Robotics (STAR) Lab here within the Surrey Space Centre. They have long-standing research and development heritage and expertise in robotics and autonomous systems for complex space systems and mission operations.
Their expertise will be combined with our chemical plant design knowledge to achieve automation and autonomy for future chemical plants that can perform routine as well as high risk tasks more efficiently.
To reach and operate at sites of interests within the plants, involving robotic locomotions like the surface mobility and manipulation.
To provide a framework for understanding and coordinating the complex interactions of plants and achieving the desired system requirements. This involves modularity, commonality and interfaces, verification and validation of complex adaptive systems, plant system/subsystem modelling and simulation, software architectures and frameworks, and safety/trust.
To enable human to accurately and rapidly understand the state of the plants and act effectively and efficiently towards the goal state. This involves technologies in multi-modal interaction, remote and supervised control, distributed collaboration and coordination, and common human-system interfaces.
Sensing and perception
To provide situational awareness within the plants, involving technologies such as sensors, sensing techniques, algorithms for 3D perception, state estimation, data processing and fusion, and object, event or activity recognition.
To provide robust and safe operation of the plants ranging from tele-operation and automation to semi and fully autonomous operation. This involves technologies in autonomous guidance, navigation and control, planning, scheduling & autonomy software framework, multi-agent coordination, reconfigurable and adjustable autonomy, and automated data analysis for decision making, etc.