Autonomous climbing robot for inspection and condition assessment
Our bio-inspired autonomous climbing/inspection robot has been developed to climb steel structures, such as bridges and ships, and navigate complex and confined spaces that are hazardous for human workers to access.
0:00-0:08 Regular inspection and maintenance of steel infrastructure is necessary to ensure integrity and prolong the life of services.
0:08-0:19 However, with more stringent work, health and safety requirements, inspectors are no longer able to inspect particular locations at heights or in confined spaces.
0:19-0:27 A machine capable of performing such inspections unassisted would highly valuable, improve safety and increase productivity.
0:28-0:42 Researchers and engineers from the University of Technology Sydney and the Roads and Maritime Services of NSW have developed an inchworm-inspired climbing robot which can automously explore and inspect complicated environments.
0:43-0:52 CROC, the autonomous climbing robot is inspired by the inchworm, consisting of a dexterous body with seven degrees of freedom and two magnetic feet.
0:52-0:56 An international patent application has been filed on the technology.
0:56-1:08 The robot is able to autonomously explore unknown and complex environments, build three-dimensional maps, identify forbidden zones, obstacles, manholes and plains.
1:09-1:23 Using the 3D maps, CROC is able to intelligently plan its own course by computing safe stepping locations, generate safe moving trajectories and avoid collision with obstacles identified in the environment.
1:23-1:26 The CROC system is portable and can be deployed easily.
1:27-1:34 The simple user interface allows inspectors to monitor the operation and view life video feed form CROC.
1:34-1:37 Confined spaced entry can be performed with minimal set-up.
1:47-1:54 The robot collects high definition images along its path, which is stored into a geographic information system.
1:58-2:02 This database can then be viewed remotely by bridge inspectors for condition assessment.
2:16-2:22 The robot is capable of passing through small manholes which prevent access by human inspectors.
2:38-2:50 CROC is capable of inspecting steel bridges in the transport industry, ship hulls in the maritime industry, transmission towers, power plants and offshore structures in the energy industry.
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Our technology has been developed by the Centre for Autonomous Systems (CAS) at UTS in partnership with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) with an initial application to inspect hazardous and inaccessible regions of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The key features of the climbing robot for the bridge inspection application include:
- capable of navigating in the complex bridge structure and areas which are difficult for human workers to access (eg. box girder structure)
- can acquire information to facilitate condition assessment of steel bridge structures while greatly reducing the associated occupational health and safety risks
- robust and reliable
- easy to set up and relocate on a steel bridge
The same core technology can be adapted for a wide range of applications and use scenarios.
- Steel bridge maintenance
- Ship building and maintenance
Status and IP Position
An advanced prototype unit has been built and thoroughly tested and is currently being used by Roads & Maritime Service NSW.
If you are interested in working with our researchers to develop any of our technologies, please contact the UTS Commercialisation Team:
In the news
Bridge Climber Robot Inspector
ABC News, YouTube
5 February 2016
Robot helper improving safety for Sydney Harbour Bridge maintenance crews
5 February 2016