RACE TEST is Britain’s first facility to examine the performance of remotely-operated and robotic systems against international standards.
2018 saw two British companies returning and building on the success of RACE TEST’s industry demonstration day in November in 2017.
AB Precision Ltd, NIC Instruments Ltd – in addition to Ross Robotics Ltd – produce ground tracked robots (Unmanned Ground Vehicles – UGVs) as part of their businesses and will use RACE TEST to evaluate their future products. RACE TEST will additionally help train their operators.
Both AB Precision Ltd and NIC Instruments Ltd have already taken their UGVs to the test lanes.
Tony Leisos from RACE said: “Having developers bring their flagship UGVs to RACE TEST was both fascinating and thought-provoking. The facility has been developed to provide a suite of standardised test procedures to help companies evaluate their units, so we were extremely pleased to welcome British companies AB Precision and NIC Instruments to RACE TEST. We look forward to working with them in the future.”
Some of the robots tested can be utilised for emergency response; deployed at nuclear, agricultural and industrial facilities; used as autonomous tour guides and are even used at CERN.
Ryan Wallace from AB Precision said: “ABP was interested in working with RACE after having witnessed their drive to create a test environment that allows a uniformed series of tests for all sizes of UGVs. Following the Industry Day, we organised a trial day for our Guardian ROV. The lanes were impressive and well-kept. The tests were thorough and the team, led by Tony Leisos, were professional and provided us with the unbiased judgement of our equipment that we sought.
“RACE provided a service that we have not been able to find elsewhere, the ability to test our UGVs on standardised test lanes. By providing a test environment to trial our current UGVs, as well as the ones that are in development, RACE allows ABP to develop and pass on better products to our customers.”
Steve Wisbey from NIC Instruments: “Testing the capabilities of unmanned ground vehicles can be a real challenge because they are used in many different environments. By having a standard test for capability, whether that is climbing over obstacles, climbing stairs or positioning things with a manipulator, we can test different concepts in a controlled way and evaluate which features add value to the UGV’s function.
“In using a test track that’s been designed by an independent body we can be confident that the features we are designing are what is required in the real world.”
In addition, RACE TEST has the capabilities to test Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones and is linked with the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Nuclear (RAIN) EPSRC hub, which is investigating how best to support the nuclear industry to speed up robotic integration into this key sector.