Skip to Content

iRobot Founder’s Startup to Develop UAVs for Bridge Inspection

CyPhy Works receives a $2.4 million grant.

We found out in June that the stealth robotics company created by iRobot founder Helen Greiner would work on unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for emergency response. Now the company has revealed that these UAVs will also be used to inspect bridges, dams and other infrastructure.

Formerly known as The Droid Works, and now called CyPhy Works, the company has received a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP) grant of $2.4 million. CyPhy Works will work with researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop small, hovering UAVs equipped with video cameras and sensors.

According to a press release from the company:

If successful, the project will produce an advanced class of UAVs that would enable entirely novel, efficient, and relatively low-cost techniques for monitoring the health of the nation’s existing civil infrastructure.

While many researchers are working on small, hovering robots for search-and-rescue, surveillance, and structure monitoring, controlling and coordinating these aircraft remains a challenge. Many UAV projects currently use GPS to navigate, but this is not very precise and does not work inside buildings.

CyPhy Works apparently plans to develop a more precise navigation system. It has plans for two types of monitoring: Robotic Assisted Inspection, where a UAV slowly flies along a structure taking high resolution images, and Autonomous Robotic Monitoring, where a UAV stays at a structure and routinely checks for potential dangerous changes on its own. It will be interesting to see if the company can make the latter approach work, and what techniques it develops for stabilizing the UAVs in high wind.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.