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1. WO2020115479 - IMPROVEMENTS IN AND RELATING TO CONTROL APPARATUS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

CLAIMS

1. Control apparatus for one or more robotic units, the apparatus comprising:

1) one or more databases for storing one or more data sets;

2) one or more first data processors adapted to:

a. receive at least one data set from a database;

b. display a representation of the data set to an operator;

c. receive a proposed task set from the operator;

d. evaluate one or more characteristics of the proposed task set against one or more test characteristics;

e. provide an evaluated task set to a second processor;

3) a second processor adapted to:

a. receive at least one evaluated task set; and

b. to communicate said evaluated task set to a selected interface via a

telecommunications network;

4) an interface for a robotic unit, the interface being adapted to:

a. receive the evaluated task set via the telecommunications network; and b. provide operating instructions to the robotic unit according to the content of the evaluated task set;

5) a robotic unit adapted to operate in the environment according to the operating instructions.

2. Apparatus for generating control signals for one or more robotic units, the control signals being in the form of a task set, the apparatus comprising:

1) one or more first data processors adapted to:

a. receive at least one data set from a database;

b. display a representation of the data set to an operator;

c. receive a proposed task set from the operator;

d. evaluate one or more characteristics of the proposed task set against valid characteristics;

e. provide an evaluated task set to a second processor, the second processor being adapted to communicate with the one or more robotic units.

3. Apparatus for generating and communicating a task set to one or more robotic units, the apparatus including apparatus according to claim 2 and further comprising:

1) the second processor, the second processor being adapted to:

a. receive at least one evaluated task set; and

b. to communicate said evaluated task set to a selected interface via a

telecommunications network.

4. Apparatus according to claim 2 or claim 3, the apparatus further comprising:

1) an interface for a robotic unit, the interface being adapted to:

a. receive the evaluated task set via the telecommunications network; and b. provide operating instructions to the robotic unit according to the content of the evaluated task set.

5. Apparatus according to any of claims 2 to 4, wherein:

a) the apparatus is a part of control apparatus for one or more robotic units, the apparatus further comprising: a robotic unit adapted to operate in the environment according to the operating instructions; and/or

b) the apparatus is a part of control apparatus for one or more robotic units, the apparatus further comprising: one or more databases for storing one or more data sets.

6. Apparatus according to claim 1 or according to any one of claims 2 to 5, wherein the apparatus is a part of apparatus for one or more of:

1) conducting a spatial survey of the environment; and/or

2) for detection of radiation emissions in the environment; and/or

3) for conducting a radiometric survey of the environment; and/or

4) for altering the environment, the apparatus for altering the environment including one or more of:

a) a manipulation device for moving one or more items in the environment and/or parts of the environment;

b) a lifting device for lifting one or more items in the environment and/or parts of the environment;

c) a cutting device, for instance a laser cutter, for cutting one or more items in the environment and/or parts of the environment.

7. Apparatus according to claim 1 or according to any of claims 2 to 5 or according to claim 6, wherein the apparatus is for an evaluated task set which is conducted in a hazardous environment, such as:

a) a radioactive environment; and/or

b) an environment containing one or more sources of alpha and/or beta and/or gamma and/or neutron emissions.

8. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein one or more or all of the robotic units are provided with a camera and/or with a light and/or with a direction indicator and/or with a spatial scanner and/or with a radiometric scanner and/or with apparatus for altering the environment or a part thereof.

9. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the one or more data sets include data sets of more than one type, the one or more data sets include one or more spatial data sets for the environment and/or the one or more data sets include radiometric data sets for the environment.

10. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the one or more first data processors adapted to receive at least one data set from a database receive two types of data set, a spatial data set and a radiometric data set, and the first processor generates a combined data set in which spatial data and radiometric data are combined in the data set

11. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the display of the representation of the data set to the operator is provided by computer software, for instance VR control software adapted to display a VR representation of the environment to the operator and/or to allow the operator to move within the VR representation of the environment and/or to define the position of elements, such as robotic units, within the VR representation of the environment and/or to provide the operator with radiometric information on parts of the environment within the VR representation of the environment and/or to defining positions for tasks within the VR representation of the environment.

12. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the apparatus further includes one or more user input devices, the user input devices being adapted to allow the operator to build a proposed task set.

13. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the proposed task set is built: a) by taking into account spatial data shared with the operator and/or radiometric data shared with the operator and/or the combination of those and/or information on the materials within the environment and/or forming parts of the environment; and/or

b) of one or more movements of the robotic unit, for instance one or more extensions and/or one or more retractions and/or one or more rotations and/or one or more twists applied to one or more of the parts of the robotic unit;

c) of one or more operations by the robotic unit within the environment, for instance one or more spatial scans and/or one or more radiometric scans and/or one or more cutting operations and/or one or more movements applied to a part of the environment.

14. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the one or more first data processors evaluate one or more characteristics of the proposed task set against one or more test characteristics by obtaining a set of test characteristics.

15. Apparatus according to claim 14, wherein:

a) the one or more test characteristics provided are permissible characteristics; and/or

b) the one or more test characteristics provided are impermissible characteristics; and/or

c) the one or more test characteristics are defined for multiple environments, for instance:

i) permissions and/or limitations on the rate of movement of a robotic unit;

ii) permissions and/or limitations on the laser power useable

d) the one or more test characteristics are defined for a robotic unit type, for instance:

i) permissible and/or impermissible movements or combinations of movement;

e) the one or more test characteristics are defined for a specific environment, for instance:

i) impermissible positions for a part of the robotic unit; f) the one or more test characteristics are amended during the conduct of a task set, for instance:

i) to reflect the changes on what is permissible and/or impermissible due to the changes in the environment by the conduct of the task set so far.

16. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein a proposed task set which includes one or more characteristics which do not pass the evaluation is declined as a task set for use and/or is not be classified as an evaluated task set.

17. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein a proposed task set which includes only characteristics which pass the evaluation is accepted as a task set for use and/or is classified as an evaluated task set.

18. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein, one or more evaluated task sets are be stored for later use and/or the evaluated task set is provided in a queue relative to one or more other evaluated task sets for the same and/or for different robotic units.

19. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the evaluated task set is provided to an output interface and the output interface converts the evaluated task set into operating instructions compatible with the interface for the robotic unit and/or for the robotic unit to which the evaluated task set is directed.

20. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 3 or any claim depending through those claims, wherein the second processor has one or more first data processors as clients, for instance greater than three clients, for instance the second processor has one or more interfaces for robotic units as clients for greater than 10 clients.

21. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 3 or any claim depending through those claims, wherein the second processor is informed by the first processor to communicate with a particular interface and/or for the interface to communicate with a particular robotic unit for a given evaluated task set and/or robotic data set.

22. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 3 or any claim depending through those claims, wherein the robotic unit provides positional information to the interface, the positional information being on one or more or all parts of the robotic unit, the positional information enabling the first processor to provide visualisation of the position of the robotic unit in the environment to an operator.

23. Apparatus for configuring apparatus for generating a task set for one or more robotic units, the apparatus comprising:

1) a configuring processor adapted to:

a. receive inputs from an operator and generate control signals for a robotic unit from amongst the one or more robotic units from those inputs;

b. provide the control signals to a second processor, the second processor

being adapted to communicate with the one or more robotic units;

2) a receiver for one or more observed data sets from the one or more robotic units provided with the control signals, the receiver being adapted to communicate a data set from an observed data set to one or more databases.

24. Apparatus according to claim 23, wherein the apparatus provides:

a) a determination of the spatial form of the environment by one or more of:

i) the determination of the spatial form of the environment including a scan of the environment from one or more positions;

ii) the determination of the spatial form of the environment including a first spatial scan of the environment from a first spatial scan position to give a first spatial scan data set; and/or

b) a determination of the radiometric form of the environment by one or more of: i) the determination of the radiometric form of the environment including a scan of the environment from one or more positions;

ii) the determination of the radiometric form of the environment including a first radiometric scan of the environment from a first radiometric scan position to give a first radiometric scan data set.

25. Apparatus according to claim 23 or claim 24, wherein the configuring processor provides a user interface for an operator adapted to control the position of the robotic unit in the environment and/or the robotic unit is provided at a series of positions within the environment with one or more determinations of one or more types being made at one or more or all of those positions.

26. A computer implemented method of controlling one or more robotic units, the method comprising:

1) obtaining one or more data sets from one or more databases storing the one or more data sets;

2) by one or more first data processors:

a. receiving at least one data set from a database;

b. displaying a representation of the data set to an operator;

c. receiving a proposed task set from the operator;

d. evaluating one or more characteristics of the proposed task set against one or more test characteristics;

e. providing an evaluated task set to a second processor;

3) by a second processor:

a. receiving at least one evaluated task set; and

b. communicating said evaluated task set to a selected interface via a

telecommunications network;

4) by an interface for a robotic unit, the interface:

a. receiving the evaluated task set via the telecommunications network; and b. providing operating instructions to the robotic unit according to the content of the evaluated task set;

5) operating a robotic unit in the environment according to the operating instructions.

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