Oceaneering Space Systems (OSS) has supported robotic non-destructive evaluation (NDE) inspection and characterization initiatives in partnership with the Federal Energy Technology Center (FETC). During the program OSS developed a robotic electromagnetic NDE system that successfully deployed in February 1999 inside INEEL’s Tank WM188. A similar fast-track design and development approach yielded another highly successful waste inspection and retrieval tool deployed in Savannah River’s tank 16 in June 1998. Close communication between FETC, OSS, and the DOE sites allowed technology development on a short schedule and ready to go ‘out of the box’. Preparation for these deployments included: user-based design evaluation, extensive systems integration, & operations planning, all of which contributed significantly to deployment success. Even with these strategies, however, uncertainties in deployment, shifting customer requirements, and difficulties in manipulator integration posed unique challenges. These lessons will be explored so they may be applied to new programs seeking to advance a technology’s state-of-the-art within the multi-site/multiuser environment of the DOE
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