How Microrobots Will Fix Our Roads and Save Us Billions

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        Microrobots Saving Billions
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        Swarms of microrobots will scuttle along beneath our roads and pavements, finding and fixing leaky pipes and faulty cables.
        That is, if a new project sponsored by the U.K. government is a success.
        Recent developments in the space seem to point towards a bright future for microrobots.
        Microrobots Saving Billions
        Each year, around 1.5 million road excavations take place across the U.K. Many are due to leaky pipes and faulty cables that necessitate excavation of road surfaces in order to fix them.
        A consortium of scientists, led by University of Sheffield Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, are planning to use microrobots to negate most of these costs.
        The group has received a £7.2 million ($9.2 million) grant to develop and build their bots.
        The inspectors will be complemented by worker bots capable of carrying out repairs with cement and adhesives or cleaning out blockages with a high-powered jet.
        If successful, it is believed the bots could potentially save the U.K. economy around £5 billion ($6.4 billion) a year.
        The U.K. government has set aside a further £19 million ($24 million) for research into robots for hazardous environments, such as nuclear decommissioning, drones for oil pipeline monitoring, and artificial intelligence software to detect the need for repairs on satellites in orbit.
        Microrobots like the ones now under development in the U.K. have many potential advantages and use cases.
        To date, the number of microrobots in use is relatively limited, but that could be about to change, with bots closing in on other types of inspection jobs, which could be considered one of the lowest-hanging fruits.
        Engineering firm Rolls-Royce (not the car company, but the one that builds aircraft engines) is looking to use microrobots to inspect some of the up to 25,000 individual parts that make up an engine


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