ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) is a public organization operating in the fields of energy, the environment and new technologies. It has currently more than 2700 staff members distributed all over Italy, from Rome headquarters to 12 main research centers mostly dedicated to Research and Technology Development, transfer and dissemination.
ENEA involvement in Robotics dates back to the early years of the Italian nuclear program and is closely connected to the need for telemanipulation of highly radioactive substances. The Robotics Laboratory of ENEA, located in Casaccia (Rome) is active since 1961, with the design and realization of the first tele-operator in Europe for Nuclear Fuel management (MASCOT 1).
1961 - MASCOT 1
This makes ENEA the first Italian operator in robotics field.
19XX - MASCOT 4
Within the years, the laboratory widened its activity by developing control systems and sensing equipment for many robot systems including MOBILE SURVEILLANCE ROBOTS, INDUSTRIAL SPECIAL ROBOTS, ADVANCED SENSING DEVICES.
Since 1996 the Laboratory started up an activity line on UNDERWATER ROBOTICS and developed, together with the Italian firm Tecnomare, the robot SARA, a large underwater robot tested in the Antarctica waters and intended especially for the monitoring of the sea bottom around the Italian base of Terranova (now Mario Zucchelli base).
In 2008, the Laboratory launched the innovative concept of the “SELF-ORGANISING COMPLEX CREATURES”, based on the swarm paradigm, but aimed at overcoming the most serious AUV problem, the very limited capability of communication with a human supervisor from underwater. Harness project, funded by the IIT (Italian Institute of Technology), is the first result of this concept and the VENUS parallel project, entirely funded by ENEA, is the direct investment of the RTO on this line. Together with ENEA, University of Tor Vergata and University of Perugia joined into the development of the complex project that has achieved the interest of many national end-users and many large industries.