MIRRAX: A Reconfigurable Robot for Limited Access Environments

Wei Cheah, Keir Groves, Horatio Martin, Harriet Peel, Simon Watson, Ognjen Marjanovic, Barry Lennox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The development of mobile robot platforms for inspection has gained traction in recent years. However, conventional mobile robots are unable to address the challenge of operating in extreme environments where the robot is required to traverse narrow gaps in highly cluttered areas with restricted access, typically through narrow ports. This article presents MIRRAX, a robot designed to meet these challenges by way of its reconfigurable capability. Controllers for the robot are detailed, along with an analysis on the controllability of the robot given the use of mecanum wheels in a variable configuration. Characterization on the robot's performance identified suitable configurations for operating in narrow environments. The experimental validation of the robot's controllability shows good agreement with the theoretical analysis and the capability to address the challenges of accessing entry ports as small as 150-mm diameter, as well as navigating through cluttered environments. This article also presents results from a deployment in a Magnox facility at the Sellafield nuclear site in the U.K.—the first robot to ever do so, for remote inspection and mapping.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

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