fabbrica_per_le_personeTitle: Haptic teleoperation of UAV equipped with X-ray spectometer for detection and identification of radioactive materials in industrial plants

Area: 3 – Factory for the People

Call topic: 3.1 – Technologies for man/machine interaction

Coordinating Institute: IMEM-CNR, Parma


  • Istituto Materiali Elettronica e Magnetismo, IMEM-CNR, Parma
  • Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione, Universita’ degli Studi di Parma

Industrial Interest Group:

  • AeroDron SRL (Parma),
  • Agenzia Regionale Prevenzione e Ambiente – Emilia Romagna – Centro Tematico Regionale Radioattività Ambientale (Piacenza)

Abstract: The project proposes haptic teleoperation of an human aerial vehicle (UAV) for localization of radiation sources in industrial plants. Radiation sources will be localized and identified by equipping the UAV with a novel CdZnTe-based custom X-ray detector providing light, compact, spectroscopic and low power operation. Large scale factories such as steel, wood, construction, recycling industries and landfills, involve procurement of raw material which may include radiating parts. Manufacturing operations are carried out in unstructured environments, where fully autonomous UAV inspection is hardly applicable. UAV operation with a “human in the loop” allows an expert operator to focus on selected candidate areas, thereby optimizing short flight missions in face of the constrained acquisition times required by nuclear inspection. To cope with the reduced situational awareness of the remote operator, the project will use force feedback as an additional sensory channel.

Ideas and solutions:

A very innovative aspect of the project is the exploitation of a haptic user interface for remote control of an aerial vehicle (UAV). The user is able to provide 3D motion commands to the UAV and receive force feedback from the haptic interface. The UAV is also equipped with a novel CdZnTe-based custom radiation sensor, so that radiation sources can be localized and identified without a direct exposure of the human operator. By means of CdZnTe crystals, it is possible to realize solid-state radiation detectors whose limited weight and power consumption enable integration on UAV. Moreover, spectroscopic detectors can be realized, with the advantage to localize and identify the radiation source at once.

Follow up:

– All the certifications required for flying with the UAV were obtained from Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile (ENAN) and two operators got the certifications for the flight.

– A web-site has been realized to describe the system (www.imem.cnr.it/xdrone)

– The prototype is now fully operational and is available for the exploitation by third parties. If you want to cooperate with us and/or you want to exploit the prototype in operational environments, do not hesitate to contact us through the website: www.imem.cnr.it/xdrone


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