• Simulating Ionising Radiation in Gazebo for Robotic Nuclear Inspection Challenges

      Wright, Thomas; orcid: 0000-0002-9913-5487; email: thomas.wright@manchester.ac.uk; West, Andrew; orcid: 0000-0003-4553-8640; email: andrew.west@manchester.ac.uk; Licata, Mauro; email: m.licata@lancaster.ac.uk; Hawes, Nick; orcid: 0000-0002-7556-6098; email: nickh@robots.ox.ac.uk; Lennox, Barry; orcid: 0000-0003-0905-8324; email: barry.lennox@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-07)
      The utilisation of robots in hazardous nuclear environments has potential to reduce risk to humans. However, historical use has been largely limited to specific missions rather than broader industry-wide adoption. Testing and verification of robotics in realistic scenarios is key to gaining stakeholder confidence but hindered by limited access to facilities that contain radioactive materials. Simulations offer an alternative to testing with actual radioactive sources, provided they can readily describe the behaviour of robotic systems and ionising radiation within the same environment. This work presents a quick and easy way to generate simulated but realistic deployment scenarios and environments which include ionising radiation, developed to work within the popular robot operating system compatible Gazebo physics simulator. Generated environments can be evolved over time, randomly or user-defined, to simulate the effects of degradation, corrosion or to alter features of certain objects. Interaction of gamma radiation sources within the environment, as well as the response of simulated detectors attached to mobile robots, is verified against the MCNP6 Monte Carlo radiation transport code. The benefits these tools provide are highlighted by inclusion of three real-world nuclear sector environments, providing the robotics community with opportunities to assess the capabilities of robotic systems and autonomous functionalities.