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2013: The Year in Robots

The robot can reportedly work at a rate of three feet per second, scanning tunnel walls and generating rough two-dimensional images. From those images, the robot searches for cracks meeting certain criteria and when it finds them, generates more detailed three-dimensional images using ultrasound and laser technology.

The robot requires a human operator, who can issue commands like “stop” or “advance,” but the robot’s work is largely autonomous, stopping only to notify the operator of cracks. Researchers predict such a robot could save government money by reducing the number of crew members needed to inspect a tunnel, while also increasing safety and reducing the duration of tunnel closures.

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