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Where is oil and gas in the robotics revolution?

31 October 2017
Written by Luca Corradi

There is indeed a robotics revolution happening. It has already happened in manufacturing, and is moving onto the next generation incorporating artificial intelligence, robotics design, and human-robot collaboration.

Nuclear is using robots to inspect and work where humans can’t go.

Even the construction industry is using robots. You can get your Victorian house floor insulated without removing it. Small robots crawl under the floor, perform laser scanning and heat mapping to detect the heat loss points and then insulate it.

Robots are already used in surgery to assist with precision tasks and and remote operation are being tested, with the surgeon located up to 400km away from the patient.

So, what about oil and gas?

We have had ROVs for many years and we’re now starting to use autonomous ROVs, which is very interesting. We have started using drones to inspect flares or other hard to reach parts of a platform. But in truth, that’s nothing compared to what could be possible.

So that’s why we at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre are interested in robotics and have organised the series of events that makes up #RoboticsWeek. To bring the outside-in, to learn from experts and from other sectors. 

We have assembled a team comprising experts from oil and gas and various robotics fields, who are working together today and tomorrow to help us understand what robotics can really do in oil and gas, and what we need to do to make that happen.

We start by asking them a question: what do you want your robot to do? What tasks and activities could robots undertake to solve the industry challenges of today and to transform it for the future?

The teams will give answers to this question, then move on to see if it’s possible with today’s robots, or what the gap is. And then start planning on how to fill that gap.

And this will be the input for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, and the oil and gas industry to work together, funding and leading projects to bring robotics solutions to industry problems.

To find out more, visit our event page to register for one of our Robotics Week open events which takes place on Thursday 2 November.

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