Automation Unwrapped: Exploring the fusion of robotics and AI | Fieldfisher
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Automation Unwrapped: Exploring the fusion of robotics and AI


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In this latest episode of Fieldfisher's Automation Unwrapped Podcast, Chris Eastham chats to Simon Delavalle, Chief Technology Officer of Veolia Nuclear Solutions, in an exclusive interview discussing the crucial role of AI and robotics in nuclear disaster recovery.

One key aspect Simon highlights in this episode is the growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI). While AI has been around for some time, recent advancements have made it more accessible than ever. Simon reflects on how AI is pushing robotics towards autonomous decision-making, allowing technology to adapt to complex challenges that were previously deemed unsolvable.

One such example is the sorting of nuclear waste that is deemed too difficult for traditional machinery to tackle.

How AI is helping with the Fukushima nuclear disaster cleanup

Simon explains that his team is working on a groundbreaking project to clean up the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The team aims to deploy sensors inside the core of the damaged reactor to gather crucial data about the fuel debris and characterise the radioactivity.

However, this task comes with enormous challenges. The unknown environment and the restricted access through small apertures require a combination of automation and human collaboration to plan and execute the next steps.

Within the nuclear industry, Simon predicts a greater confidence in deploying autonomous technologies on nuclear sites – accessing hazardous areas becomes more accessible and cost-effective, thanks to robotic platforms. Additionally, he talks about the abundance of digital data aids in planning and creating precise solutions for accessing these hazardous areas.

Other ways automation is transforming our lives

With over a decade of experience in this field, Simon has witnessed the evolution of automation and its integration into our lives.

Looking beyond the nuclear industry, automation is already transforming our world in significant ways. Simon and Chris talk about the advancements in AI and autonomous technologies, and how these advancements make interactions with technology more natural and seamless.

For example, in the workplace, automation frees up time for human workers to focus on tasks that require uniquely human skills.

Harnessing the power of automation for the future

Simon envisions a future where AI enables us to perform design analysis and prediction in novel ways, ultimately enhancing productivity and efficiency.

Looking ahead to the next 12 to 18 months, Simon expects the practical applications of AI to gain prominence. Natural language models like ChatGPT will revolutionise communication interfaces with technology, enabling people without technical backgrounds to leverage advanced technologies more effectively. He also anticipates the deployment of sci-fi-like robots in industrial applications, expanding the possibilities of what tools can achieve.

Wrapping up 'Exploring the fusion of robotics and AI'

A huge thank you to Simon Delavalle whose insights provide a glimpse into the future of robotics and AI and the remarkable projects and innovations revolutionising how we solve complex challenges, unlocking unprecedented opportunities.

Listen to the full episode on your podcatcher of choice and subscribe to the Automation Unwrapped series.

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