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TELEMAN activities in 1994 and plans for 1995

The TELEMAN programme on telerobotics and remote systems for hazardous and disordered nuclear environments, run by DG XII of the European Commission, continued in 1994 with the final industrial user testing of four projects. The projects were launched as a result of the first...

The TELEMAN programme on telerobotics and remote systems for hazardous and disordered nuclear environments, run by DG XII of the European Commission, continued in 1994 with the final industrial user testing of four projects. The projects were launched as a result of the first TELEMAN call for proposals, and concern computerized photogrammetry and laser telemetry in nuclear installations, a master-slave manipulator, a radiation-tolerant dextrous gripper, and a robust six-legged walking robot. The most important results of these projects are currently being commercially exploited and two of the projects have been so successful that new high-tech SMEs are being set up to manufacture the products of the research. Work on the TM41 ENTOREL project, which is building a database of nuclear environmental tolerance and reliability for the programme as a whole, will continue throughout the lifetime of all of the projects, and has included the publication this year of two environmental tolerance handbooks as well as the distribution of a database developed in cooperation with the European Space Agency. Five research machine integration projects were launched, as a result of the second TELEMAN call for proposals, in the research and first integration phases in 1994, with on-site testing planned for three of the projects in 1995. The pilot programme of 50 university student research projects which were associated with the research machine projects culminated in a highly successful Students Telerobotics Congress organized in cooperation with the Technical University of Delft at the Leeuwenhorst Congress Centrum in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, in June 1994. The students presented the results of their final year telerobotics projects and also took part in a design and build telerobot competition in ten internationally mixed teams of five students. The event will take place again in July 1995 at the same venue (see RTD-News RCN 3697). In association with the EURISCON '94 robotics and intelligent systems conference, the annual TELEMAN Researchers Conference was held in August 1994 with an attendance of about 200 delegates who saw presentations of the latest results from the TELEMAN projects. The 1995 TELEMAN Telerobotics Research Conference will be held in parallel with the TELEMAN-HCM EU Students Telerobotics Congress in July in the Netherlands (see RTD-News RCN 3698). 1994 also saw the publication of the independent expert panel's report on the mid-term evaluation of the TELEMAN programme. The report was wholly positive about the management and technical progress of the programme, with particular note made of the exploitation and technology transfer potential of the user-led programme, the way in which a network of cooperation between industrial users, manufacturers, researchers, and academics has been set up, and the pro-active project management procedures which have been applied to ensure the technical quality of the research. The expert panel recommended that if the programme were not to be continued within the nuclear fission safety area, it should be included in the Industrial and Materials Technologies programme to ensure that the progress made in the EU towards leadership in tele-robotics should be supported and exploited through further research.

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