Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR HAZARD TRACKING 52 August/September 2018 unmanned systems inside ISFSIs require walk downs to visually verify the vent locations on the dry cask storage con- tainers are not blocked, which would prevent natural cooling and lead to problems. "These walk downs can pose safety risks to personnel and can easily be automated by UAVs," he said. "Additionally, detailed 3-D sur- veys can be conducted using UAVs to map and monitor the low level radiation areas in and around the ISFSI sites that can eliminate the need or reduce the magnitude of costly con- crete berms erected to keep off-site radiation doses to a minimum." THE CHALLENGES Of course there are various challenges that come with using drones to detect radiation. The first is the size of the sensors and the drone. The payload must be light enough to f ly on a UAS that's small enough to safely travel in the facility and to access tight spaces and confined areas. Goldstein met that challenge by using thin aluminum or carbon fiber for all mechanical parts rather than steel or brass. He got rid of the lead collimators used on other radiation equipment and also plan to switch to smaller, denser scintillation crystals for the "search tool" detector. "The first thing to do is make the sensors small and lightweight so they can go on the drone without overpowering them," he said. "And then you need a quick change. We de- veloped a quick change system so it takes just a few seconds to change from one detector to another by clipping in and plugging it in to a different wire and cable." When Goldstein came to Jeri Donaldson, CEO of FlyCam UAV, and her team w ith radiation detection devices and the idea to f ly them on the drone, it didn't take long for them to f igure out the best way to mount the sensors onto the systems. The company has 20 to 25 sensors that detect 18 different chemicals. The main challenge was deter- mining how to get the right data. UAS AND GROUND VEHICLES GROUND VEHICLES ALSO CAN BE EFFECTIVE during an emergency response at a nuclear facility, said Matt Torma, business development manager for Charlotte UAV. Once the plume is gone and a UAS has been used to detect radiation levels, a system like the Destrier—LR, a medium- sized all terrain, all-wheel drive vehicle, can continue to collect data. The autonomous vehicle can cover miles while carrying various payloads on the main body or towed by a trailer. It also can be equipped with a self-righting roll cage to traverse challenging areas. The Rover uses the Mirion Mission Control Software, which is also used to operate the RadKnight UAS. "You want to use aerial systems right away and then ground vehicles," he said. "After a couple days all the debris from the plume has fallen out and will get on the ground. Aerial vehicles aren't great at surveying the ground. A ground vehicle is a much more effi cient tool for these surveys and can run for a longer period of time. You also can put a bigger payload on them." The ground rover was developed because customers were constantly asking about a system that could stay on the ground and loiter, said Walter Lappert, an unmanned systems engineer for Charlotte UAV. The vehicle has front facing cameras (visible light and thermal), rear facing cameras and now a set of two radiation detectors mounted on. It operates via GPS waypoints or manually. Like the UAS, it livestreams what it sees back to the operator. A second person can put on virtual reality googles to see all the data as it comes in, off ering another perspective. Torma sees this being used to monitor for radiation in shipping and receiving areas. It also can be used for other applications, including infrastructure inspections and security walk downs, much like the UAS. Photos courtesy of Charlotte UAV. BUDDY THE GROUND ROBOT Buddy is a semi- autonomous ground robot for use in hazardous areas. The vehicle is designed to be "plug and play" with various Mirion radiation detectors and cameras. DESTRIER– LR The medium sized Destrier– LR is an all-terrain autonomous vehicle that can carry a variety of payloads on its main body or towed by a trailer.

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