The Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of Great Britain invested $ 8.9 million in the project of “micro-robots”, intended for servicing the underground utilities of this country. Four leading universities in the United States will develop them on a competitive basis, and if successful, we can talk about a revolution in the repair of pipelines. Not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout the world.
The British did what everyone had been waiting for - they financed the start of work and determined the real field of activity for repair robot. Various versions of machines for autonomous research of pipes in the world have been around for a long time, but new ones stand out in that they are intended for urban infrastructure. In particular, with their help, they want to resolve such an issue as opening asphalt and digging pits in the middle of the streets to repair damaged pipes.
To do this, the robots must learn to patch the holes in the pipes themselves, which must first be found. Therefore, according to the project specification, it is necessary to create an army of tiny inspection bots, to which several major repair workers will be seconded. Inspection robots are very similar to bugs, they are less than 1 cm in length and must be able to run on any surface, fly and swim, and also carry diagnostic equipment. Tools are mounted on the “workers” either for cleaning or for installing patches on pipes, they are controlled through a cable and receive energy and a working substance for performing tasks.
Five years are given for the development of microrobots for the repair of pipes, after which, if successful, they will be purchased with millions of series and will flood the underground utilities of Great Britain. The economic effect is expected to be enormous, because here, up to 1.5 million road excavations are carried out annually, and the damage only from vehicle downtime in traffic jams reaches $ 6.3 billion.