Benjamin Walker, PhD Student, Engineering Sciences
Ben Walker studies ways in which to conduct safe crevasse detection for sup¬ply traverse personnel through robotics research. Each year a heavy equipment resupply is conducted between Thule, NEEM and Summit Camp, Greenland, and this resupply must traverse heavily crevassed sections of the Greenland Ice Sheet to complete the job. Ben's research is developing a robot and instrument combination that will automatically collect and interpret this data.
During his fieldwork season at Summit Camp in June of 2013, Ben increased the reliability of the solar power system of a robot—the "Cool Robot." This robot tows the Ground Penetration Radar, which is used to detect crevasses. Ben and his colleagues performed multiple long-distance runs in order to determine the solar power available and the daily range of the system.
This project is in support of the Supply Traverse, which decreases energy use in keeping NEEM and Summit Camp supplied for research operations by ground-hauling supplies rather than flying them in. This upgrade in Crevasse Detection is useful because the robot can be implemented in order to scout ahead, and perform the scans for the team, thereby decreasing risk for personnel.
YouTube: Ben Walker talks about polar robotics