An autonomous robot could soon save businesses millions of dollars in the inspection of pipelines. Houston-based itRobotics is developing a robot that can travel tether-free, without operator intervention, for kilometers inside tubing and small-diameter pipes, making inspections cheaper and easier and detecting some flaws that aren’t detectable from the outside. The trainlike prototype, designed for pipes five to six centimeters across, pulls one or more carts loaded with sensors that detect changes in, for example, magnetic flux, which can indicate wall thinning or cracks. The robot’s proprietary locomotion system and onboard computer allow it to decide whether to proceed, slow down, stop, or even reverse. The company plans to introduce its first inspection robot, for the oil and gas industry, this fall. Future versions could inspect plant equipment such as the boilers and heat exchangers found in refineries, chemical plants, and desalinization plants.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state
Heat-sensing cameras and face recognition systems may help fight covid-19—but they also make us complicit in the high-tech oppression of Uyghurs.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.