SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Martin Zavala
TIME: Friday, April 22, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
PLACE: Boggs, 3-47
TITLE: Autonomous Detection and Characterization of Nuclear Materials Using Co-Robots
COMMITTEE: Dr. Anna Erickson, Chair (NRE)
Dr. Jonathan Rogers (ME)
Dr. Chris Wang (NRE)


Radiation safety is the biggest concern of the nuclear industry and co-robots are a crucial step forward to insuring that safety. Currently, radiation mapping data is typically gathered using hand held detectors, or detection systems requiring constant human interaction. This results in direct human irradiation of the individual performing the survey. Co-robots can cooperate between using computer algorithms and human input to determine the most efficient and accurate methods of surveying these same regions with no health hazards. These surveying methods can then be used and adapted for multiple uses in the industry including nonproliferation, maintenance, and accident response scenarios.

This thesis describes the process in which two vehicles were used and modified to detect radiation with minimal human interaction. The almost fully autonomous process outlined can map an area of interest and then characterize the radiation materials that are found using neutron and gamma spectroscopy. The future of radiation safety lies in the research and construction of small autonomous radiation detection systems.