Aqua Vehicle for Exploration and In-Situ Sensing

Remotely Operated Vehicle

The AVEXIShas been designed over the past 9-10 years to characterise cluttered, enclosed, radiological environments for the nuclear decommissioning sector. It aims to inspect these hazardous environments, removing human workers from harm, whilst enabling more efficient decommissioning.

Originally developed for the Sellafield nuclear decommissioning site, the AVEXIS™ has been involved in many collaborations such as an international effort, twinned with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) and Nagaoka University to adapt the AVEXIS for deployment at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant during decommissioning of the site after the 2011 tsunami.

The AVEXIS™ is now part of the RAIN hub, where, working with colleagues across multiple universities and companies, it is being kitted out with radiological sensors, developing improved control systems, combining with multiple robotic platforms for multi-agent inspection, whilst we also continue to work on complimentary technology such as underwater positioning systems, underwater visual 3D reconstruction and more.

The AVEXIS™ has successfully integrated SONARs, gamma detectors, neutron detectors and is capable of much more!

Specification list:

  • 140mm in diameter by 350mm in length
  • Approximately 2kg
  • 3 degrees of freedom
  • Radiation tolerance approximately 80Gy
  • In-built camera, lighting, IMU and depth sensor as standard.
  • Adapted to work with SONARs and radiation sensors.

Notable Achievements and Demonstrations

  • Demonstration at the Naraha test facility in Fukushima prefecture, Japan
  • Radiation tolerance tested at JSI Triga Reactor, Slovenia
  • A commercial version was developed in partnership with Forth Engineering, although the registered trademark resides with University of Manchester.

Demonstration of the AVEXIS™ as part of an international collaboration at the National Maritime Research Institute, Japan.

Overview of the AVEXIS™ submersible ROV platform with attached profiling SONAR

Experimental verification of in-built radiation sensors as part of a collaboration with Lancaster University. A small gamma source, surrounded by lead, is detected and characterised by the AVEXIS™.

Overview of the AVEXIS™ ROV, in-built LEDs lighting the way!

The AVEXIS™ ROV with an acoustic sonar, searching for simulated fuel debris at the bottom of a test pond at the Naraha test facility in Fukushima prefecture, Japan. Photo came second place in the Equipment and Facilities category of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Photography Competition 2018. Find out more here.

In February 2018 researchers visited the JSI TRIGA reactor in Slovenia. Here, the AVEXIS™ was tested for its radiation tolerance. This video shows the ROV in the JSI TRIGA reactor before irradiation.

Academic Publications