Robots to fix underground pipes

Posted on 17 Jan 2019 and read 708 times
Robots to fix underground pipesNew micro robots will be built to repair the UK’s huge underground pipe network, significantly cutting the disruption caused by the 1.5 million road excavations that take place every year.

This project will see scientists from four British universities use £7 million of Government investment to develop small robotic devices that use sensors and navigation systems to find and mend cracks in pipes.

Another 14 projects backed by £19.6 million of Government money (through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund) will see robots sent to hazardous work-places such as offshore wind farms and nuclear decommissioning facilities.

Researchers will test new technologies, such as the use of artificial-intelligence software to detect when satellites in orbit need repairs, and the use of drones for oil pipeline monitoring.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “For now, we can only dream of a world without roadworks disrupting our lives, but these pipe-repairing robots herald the start of technology that could make the dream a reality in the future.

"From deploying robots in our pipe network and cutting traffic delays to using robots in work-places to keep people safer, this new technology could change the world we live in — for the better.

"Experts in our top UK universities across the country are well-equipped to develop this innovative new technology.”

UK Research and Innovation chief executive Mark Walport said: “The projects announced today demonstrate how robots and artificial intelligence will revolutionise the way we carry out complex and dangerous tasks, from maintaining offshore wind farms to decommissioning nuclear-power facilities.

"They also illustrate the leading role that the UK’s innovators are playing in developing these new technologies, which will improve safety and boost productivity and efficiency.”

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