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IRSEEM wins the 1st round of international robotic challenge ARGOS by Total
A team from IRSEEM, ESIGELEC’s Research Institute in Rouen, and SME SOMINEX continue their ascension towards excellence in robotics. After being the only French team selected among the 5 finalists of the ARGOS Challenge, they have just won the 1st competition with their VIKINGS robot.
The ARGOS Challenge aims at conceiving the next generation of robots, able to ensure the surveillance and technical maintenance of an oil and gas offshore or onshore platform in the most extreme conditions and in total autonomy. The research and development process runs for 3 years and the competition consists of 3 rounds on the test site in Lacq (Midi-Pyrénées, southern France) : one in June 2015, the second one in March 2016 and the last one in December 2016. The trials will become more and more complex.
In the first round, the robot had to be able to achieve automatic inspection missions under real conditions. The script was given to the teams 2 hours prior to the competition: the robot had to go through control points to read the needle of gauges to check the state of pressure sensors and to determine whether the floodgates were open or closed. Unexpected obstacles were added and the robot also had to be able to go over a 20-centimeter-high obstacle, in order to automatically climb on or off the platform.
The VIKINGS robot was able to perform the first mission on automatic mode in less than 4 minutes instead of the 20 minutes available. Despite a few technical incidents, the robot was a step ahead from its Japanese, Austrian, Spanish and Swiss opponents, as the jury declared VIKINGS winner of the 1st round.
The team comes back from Lacq with a 1st objective… and a new objective: March 2016. By then, the robot should be able to identify unusual sounds such as gas leaks or cavitation bubbles inside the pipes. It should go and check for unknown obstacles or fire extinguishers. These tests will take place on the upper levels of the structure, implying the robot’s going up and down the stairs.
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