Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

Inspector Bot

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.

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.