The challenge

The inspection of complex industrial structures

Inspection of complex industrial structures has always been challenging, especially in spaces which have a very narrow profile and are cluttered with structural elements that make it impossible for an aerial platform to perform a close-range inspection. A platform that was able to navigate, inspect, analyse and communicate from complex industrial structures and challenging terrain was required.

Our response

Magneto multi-limbed robot

With permanent electro-magnetic feet and cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), the multi-legged Magneto can climb and inspect vertical and ferrous surfaces at any inclination. Magneto's design enables a high degree of flexibility, allowing it to successfully place its feet on discontinuous surfaces, such as narrow beams, and maintain that contact even when it is required to traverse a restricted space.

Magneto's advanced localisation and object detection features allow it to navigate and adapt its body to manoeuvre environments, while its quadruple footed platform provides limb freedom and manipulability while reducing the number of movements caused by the gravitational pull on the contact points. This enables easier traversing of complex 3D structures and a wide range of body configurations necessary for desired sensor positioning, while the electro-magnetic feet give Magneto advanced dexterity that current inspection robots lack.

Magneto's capabilities include:

  • traversing surfaces at any incline
  • confined space entry inspections
  • traversing narrow beams of varying separation
  • switching from locomotion to inspection of confined space voids.

The results

Traversing inclines and negotiating narrow spaces

Magneto is part of our family of robots called Magnapods, which are highly flexible inspection robots capable of accessing visually occluded pockets, thereby improving inspection coverage and quality over human inspectors. Magneto represents the next generation of maintenance and inspection robots.

After the early prototype of Magneto was developed and demonstrated by CSIRO's Data61 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Data61 partnered with Nexxis, an Australian organisation specialising in NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) equipment, pipe inspection cameras a laser alignment tools, to bring the Magneto to market.

Nexxis currently has a two-part contract with CSIRO's Data61 covering licensing the platform and funding an early prototype to be demonstrated to external clients.

In 2019, Magneto won 1st place in the "New Innovative Technology in Inspection Maintenance or Cleaning" award category at the Sprint Robotics Conference in Rotterdam.

Fully autonomous Magneto robot climbing an unknown structure without human help

Magneto :  Fully autonomous Magneto robot climbing an unknown structure without human help

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