Utility Inspection Systems From ULC Robotics Go High and Low

Robotics Business Review

Robots could soon be your co-workers, regardless of whether you work in a factory, an office, or even at home. In the meantime, however, robots are already being used for jobs that are too dull, dirty, or dangerous for humans. ULC Robotics has been a pioneer in providing utility inspection systems for the energy industry.

At RoboBusiness 2017, Tony Delnevo, an electro mechanical technician at Hauppauge, N.Y.-based ULC, showcased some of the company’s utility inspection systems. He describes their capabilities in the brief video below.

ULC Robotics offers a fleet of robots for live gas-main inspections under a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model. The CIRRIS XR repair robot can enter cast-iron liquid natural gas mains, navigate around obstacles and 90 degree bends, and find leaks. It can also drill into gaps, apply seals, and prolong the life of pipes by 50 years.

Delnevo also shows ULC’s VTOL hybrid aircraft, which combines vertical takeoff and landing and fixed-wing forward flight for greater endurance. It can go up to 250 miles in a single flight.

ULC’s unmanned utility inspection aircraft can search for gas leaks and inspect electrical transmission towers. It uses lidar, 3D point clouds, and thermal imaging, making it also useful for inspecting crops as part of precision agriculture or so-called smart city initiatives.

Sending human crews to do such jobs can be very dangerous, so “automation and robotics are becoming a such huge part of [utility inspection] that it’s usually more cost-effective and much less dangerous to put robotics in these fields rather than humans,” according to Delnevo.

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Source: roboticsbusinessreview

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