The development of inspection robots accelerates as the requirement to solve different issues in hazardous conditions and eliminate human intervention rises.
Market players have been developing robots that would lower down risks and minimize the human intervention in hazardous environments.
These robots are helpful in inspecting abandoned mines and provide useful data that can be utilized to restart mining operations.
Moreover, submersible robots have been developed to submerge in nuclear fuel and offer insights about the conditions.
As the application scope widens, new solutions emerge. A drone technology firm joined hands with an analytics firm to develop robots that would carry out inspection of solar farms successfully.
This will be helpful in inspection of large farms as manual inspection becomes cumbersome. The utilization of inspection robots is expected to increase in the coming years.
According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global inspection robots market is expected to reach $13.94 billion by 2030. Following are some of the activities taking place across the world.
The application of inspection robots has been widening in the areas where the risks and hazards are of high levels.
Carrying out remote inspection has become possible with application of robots. Abandoned portions of mines can be inspected with the help of robots and firms have been utilizing robotics expertise and technology.
Brisbane-based Australian Droid & Robot (ADR) developed 10 Explora XL robots for inspection of abandoned area of mine.
These robots traveled up to 1.7 kilometers into the mine. These robots carried out laser and video scans for offering insights and assessment of mining condition.
The data and insights have been utilized for accelerating reopening efforts after the collapse in August 2021.
Miners approached ADR and stated the requirements. The company developed new robots after testing and development activities.
ADR developed remote inspection robots with the help of Rajant Kinetic Mesh technology. This technology is an industrial radio technology that uses wireless networking.
These robots offer low-latency, long-distance networks. These make these robots ideal for inspection in real time.
Robots traveled into the mine one after another. Each robot transferred the communication signal to the next robots and developed high bandwidth and daisy-chain network.
The company developed these robots based on the principle of “safety by separation”. The mining team collected sufficient data for beginning the reopening operations.
The application of inspection robots in hazardous operations continues. More than a decade ago, a nuclear accident took place in Fukushima and the nuclear fuel has been lying down in reactors.
The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), have been figuring out the conditions and the steps to be taken to deal with the fuel that contain highly radioactive material.
TEPCO officials decided to utilize six submersible robots to gain the details about the sediment and determine the procedures and equipment required to eliminate the fuel.
Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) joined forced to develop these robots.
These robots will perform different functions and inserted in a specific order. They will identify the depth and if there is melted fuel underlying the sediment. This will provide data to officials and the further steps will be taken to remove the melted fuel.
Along with development of new products for hazardous applications, manufacturers adopted partnership strategy for autonomous inspection of solar farms.
Elimination of human intervention is one of the major goals behind development of new robots. H3 Dynamics, a Singapore-based drone technology firm, partnered with AI analytics firm Sitemark for launching robots-as-a-service solutions.
These autonomous robots will carry out inspection and monitoring tasks for solar farms. The drone-in-a-box solution from H3 will be combined with thermal and visual analytics platform of Sitemark.
The combined solution will be helpful for large solar farms, for which, conducting inspection activities manually is not possible.
Both companies aim to develop robots that would become “eyes and ears” of solar farm operators and owners.
They can be utilized for performing different inspection activities such as tracking construction activities, determining degradation levels of solar panels, offering on-site security, and others.
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The development of such robots will continue as new applications and issues emerge. The ever-expanding application scope will increase the need of novel inspection robots.