Greg Galitzine : Robotics
Greg Galitzine

April 2010

You are browsing the archive for April 2010.

Wind River Chosen for Radioactive Cleanup Robots

April 26, 2010

Wind River announced that VxWorks is the choice of the France-based Group of Robotic Intervention on Accidents (INTRA) for its new family of radioactive cleanup robots.   The robots are equipped with cameras and radioactivity sensors, and are designed to assess and clear radioactive accidents.   The control units in the robots and in the control center run VxWorks on an Intel Pentium 4 processor. According to a Wind River press release, the system needs a response time of less than 100 milliseconds for all the data and three channels of high-resolution video from the robot, including startup time, and the software must be highly deterministic to reliably handle all operations and give the operator real-time control.   The INTRA vehicles that are the first in line for VxWorks are the ERASE, EBENNE, and ERELT robotic vehicles.   ·         The External Reconnaissance, Assistance and Surveillance Robot (ERASE) is designed to inspect accident sites remotely. It can navigate rough terrain and be controlled from up to 10 kilometers away for up to ten hours. ·         The Engin Benne, or EBENNE, is a dump truck equipped with cameras, lighting and a gamma detector to enable precise remote operation around the clock. ·         The Teleoperated Relay Robot (ERELT) is fitted with a telescoping antenna and relays radio transmissions from the ERASE and EBENNE to a control desk, located a safe distance away.   Describing the choice of Wind River, Pascal Izydorczyk, Technical Operations Attache at INTRA Groupe said, "The INTRA Groupe robots are designed to operate under the most hostile conditions possible. A real-time response is necessary from the equipment when lives may be in danger and every second counts.

DARPA Loses Hypersonic Bird

April 26, 2010

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is deploying its engineers to solve the riddle of why its Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) stopped sending data just nine minutes into its mission.
  According to the Agency, the Minotaur Lite launch system did what it was supposed to, namely deliver the HTV-2 glide vehicle to desired altitude, execute a series of energy management drills, break free of the clamshell fairing, and launch the HTV-2. However after approximately nine minutes, the vehicle experienced a terminal signal loss.   According to the DARPA Web site, the Falcon program objectives are to develop and demonstrate hypersonic technologies that will enable prompt global reach missions. The technologies include high lift-to-drag techniques, high temperature materials, precision navigation, guidance, and control, communications through plasma, and an autonomous flight safety system.

ISS: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

April 26, 2010

 NASA is making plans to send their Robonaut (or R2) robotic assistant to the International Space Station where it will become a permanent fixture, in preparation for eventually working alongside humans be it in space-based research activity or back on Earth in manufacturing settings.   R2, which was developed by NASA in tandem with General Motors (GM) weighs 300 pounds and consists of a head, torso and two arms and two hands. The soon to be ISS denizen will hitch a ride on the space shuttle Discovery as part of NASA's STS-133 mission, currently scheduled for September 16, 2010. This is scheduled to be the penultimate space shuttle mission.   R2 will be tested in microgravity and subjected to various radiation and electromagnetic interference environments.   According to John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, "This project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles. The combined potential of humans and robots is a perfect example of the sum equaling more than the parts.