Connex facilitating Heavy equipment Remote operation in Search and rescue

Mine clearance is a fundamental effort for international organizations like the United Nations. The world is now facing new challenges where cities are the main battle fields, and thus new Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) clearance challenges arise. Today, mine clearance is mainly done by hand, which is not only extremely dangerous, but also very slow and expensive.

Leveraging almost 20 years of field experience, combined with high-technology and robotics the Swiss based  DOME (Digger Management and Operating Environment) project, worked to  bring an effective, reliable and cost-efficient solution for urban mine clearance.

The SCRAPER solution is to use mass produced construction machines which will be transformed into robots and tele-operated from a safe distance with the help of cameras, controllers and virtual reality goggles. Thereby, no human lives will be put at risk even in case of a powerful explosion.

Amimon’s CONNEX wireless video system has been implemented in the Scraper solution providing 1080p60 video feed enabling robotics operator to capture Real time video in Zero Delay.

What were the challenges encountered when developing the SCRAPER system?

The main issue in remote-operating construction machinery with virtual reality goggles is to have a real zero-latency high-bandwidth video connection. Even the smallest amount of latency will make the operator sick and decrease its efficiency by drastically slowing down his reaction time.

Any noticeable discrepancy in the user visual input and the actual world may result in both damage to physical property and the risk of lives, thus we were looking for a solution that will both provide a reliable video link and with the minimal latency.

 What type of solution were you looking for?

All the standard Wi-Fi-based communication systems we studied and didn’t meet our harsh requirements. We were seeking for a robust proprietary link delivering a perfect HD image in real time.

 What made the Amimon solution stand out over others that you researched?

Remote-controlled construction machine solutions exist for a long time. However, these solutions are very expensive and need remote stations with wall displays to sufficiently immerse the operator in the machine. As a result, the price is high and the time needed to activate the whole system is long. By using state-of-the-art CONNEX system based on RF link and virtual reality goggles, we made our solution unique through cost effectiveness and versatility.

What was the process you followed during implementation?

We started small and progressively tested each solution on real machines to figure out the limitations. We used a small test field with a pre-defined task to be done by an experimented machine operator. We compare each change in our configuration in regards to the same job done from the cabin in a total conventional use. Then we figured out very quickly the improvements we have done and the ones that still need to be reached.

Did the CONNEX system save money and/or increased productivity?

The CONNEX solution opened the way in using high-definition images and zero-latency at an affordable price. No other solutions solved this equation. Nowadays we reach about a 75% equivalent (to standard cabin work) working efficiency. We did not imagine reaching such good results so fast. Our aim now is to introduce this product as fast as possible on the high-risk work market, like in Syria and Iraq where cities have to be reconstructed but where rubbles are full of explosive devices. We also expect to spark an interest in more “classic” civil engineering companies, because almost all of them have to face dangerous situations occasionally. Considering the low price and the quick activation of our system, we believe it could become a perfect go-to solution for these cases.

This information was provided by: Loukas Garanis , Civil volunteer Fundraising Diggers Foundation

Amiomn CONNEX Embedded product line offers robotics manufactures a full package enabling the integration of both the Hardware & the SW into existing application with a simple SDK package. Schedule a demo for more info.

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