Analysis and optimization of tele-operated task performance of ITER Remote Handling

Tele-operated maintenance is crucial for fusion plant ITER, however it is expected to be difficult and time consuming. The aim of this research is to optimize tele-operated maintenance . Focus: Application of artificial guiding forces and haptic shared control.

PhD Candidate: Henri Boessenkool
Supervisor: David Abbink (TU Delft) / Marco de Baar (FOM/TUe)
Promoter: Maarten Steinbuch
Project Financing: FOM Institute DIFFER
Project Period: July 2011 – June 2015

Fusion power is a promising candidate to become a sustainable energy source. The international research project ITER has the goal to proof the feasibility of a fusion power plant. One of the key factors for success of ITER and other future fusion plants is the feasibility of the maintenance: it limits the uptime op the plant and should be executed reliable and in the shortest possible timeframe. The tele-operated maintenance however is expected to be difficult and time consuming. Experience with RH maintenance at e.g. JET (Joint European Torus) shows the necessity of a human-in-the-loop approach; although many complex tasks can be taken over by (automated) robots, one of the unique abilities of humans remains their ability to deal well with unexpected circumstances and changing environments.

The aim of this research is to optimize tele-operated task performance during ITER maintenance. Special attention is paid to the interaction between human operator and the tele-manipulator and the applicability of the principles of haptic shared control to optimize task performance. Can we combine manual control and automation (and take benefits of both), by introducing intelligent guiding forces? Part of the work was carried out within the EFDA GOT program on remote handling. The research is carried out at FOM Institute DIFFER (Remote Handling Study Centre) in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology and Delft University of Technology.