Nov 2016
Gas Distribution
Robotic Roadworks System (RRS) - Stage 2
Nov 2016
Apr 2017
Ollie Machan, Innovation Project Manager
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Repair
Environmental, Health and Safety, Maintenance & Inspection, Network Automation and Gas Distribution Networks
Following on from the Stage 1 feasibility study, the scope of this research and development project is to continue maturing the RRS technology whereby SGN and ULC can gain confidence in the project’s success in its entirety. The project will facilitate the development of the systems and includes additional conceptual design to refine the Robotic Roadworks System along with additional analysis, and hands on evaluation of high potential technologies such as utility locating technologies. Further evaluation of the preliminary tools and sensors will enable final selection of critical system components. This evaluation will facilitate system design and integration efforts for the mobile platform, robotic arm, and automation component of the RRS

The objective of this project is to:

  • Carry out a hands on investigation into performing current operational repair and maintenance activities using a new innovative robotic system.
  • Finalise a list of core hole and compact excavation repair/maintenance operations and rural excavations that may be used in the system development. Additionally, focus will be applied to selecting operations, not currently performed in core holes, which may be performed in a core hole when using this new system.
  • Finalise a robust cost benefit analysis (CBA) which may be used to support an ongoing Stage 3.
The success criteria for the project are:

  • Finalisation of priority operations that form the baseline for the design and development of the RRS

  • Summary of research of conventional and state-of-the-art Locating and Mark-out technologies. This will include test results from hands-on testing performed under this stage of work

  • Description of the maturation of the RRS conceptual design including potential sensors and tools and the preliminary layout of these tools, sensors and equipment in the truck and on the mobile platform

  • Results of preliminary development of system architecture with a focus on key components and interfaces

  • A list of preliminary system requirements to aid in further system development under the next stage of work

  • Results of research into a ‘soft touch’ excavation tool solution for eliminating damage during excavation

  • Updates to the Stage 1 outputs generated during Stage 2 for the robotic arm selection, operational considerations for deploying the RRS, procedural steps for performing keyhole operations with operator intervention points and learning outcomes, will be provided in this final report.