Analysis and optimization of tele-operated task performance of ITER Remote Handling

Lead: Henri Boessenkool
2011-2017 (PhD Project, Completed)

This PhD project is performed by Henri Boessenkool, supervised by Maarten Steinbuch, Marco de Baar and David Abbink. It is funded through the GOT programme.

Abstract Sustainable energy sources are essential for the continued existence of mankind on this limited world. The growing trend in the world’s energy demand makes sustainable energy even more urgent. Fusion power is a promising candidate to become a sustainable energy source. The international research project ITER* has the goal to proof the feasibility of a fusion power plant. One of the key factors for success of ITER and other future fusion plants is the feasibility of the maintenance: it limits the uptime op the plant and should be executed in the shortest possible timeframe. The tele-operated maintenance however is expected to be difficult and time consuming. Automation could improve performance of the remote maintenance, but requires human to be (out-of-the-loop) supervisors, which introduces a lot of unsolved problems. Experience with RH maintenance at e.g. JET (Joint European Torus) shows the necessity of a human-in-the-loop approach; although many complex tasks can be taken over by (automated) robots, one of the unique abilities of humans remains their ability to deal well with unexpected circumstances and changing environments.

The aim of this research is to optimize tele-operated task performance during ITER maintenance. Special attention is paid to the interaction between human operator and the tele-manipulator and the applicability of the principles of haptic shared control to optimization of task performance. Haptic shared control is in essence a combination of manual control and automation, in which the automated actions are communicated to the human operator by mechanical forces. Haptic shared control is a promising approach because the human operator stays in-the-loop and is in control, the drawbacks of complete automation are expected to be negligible.

 *For more information about the (technically) amazing project ITER see also

PhD project


Associated Research Programme:

Part of this work was supported by European Communities, carried out within the frame- work of EFDA (WP10-GOT RH) and financial support from FOM Institute DIFFER. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission.

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