Robots are taking several supporting roles in our society, lending us a helping hand where our human co-workers can’t. Rolls-Royce has now developed their SWARM robots to play a part in the world of aircraft maintenance.
WHAT IT IS?
SWARM robots are several types of micro robots aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce developed to help their clients maintain and repair their own engine. The robots come in different shapes and sizes with each their own part to play. The ‘snake’ robots are just the size of a pencil and are thermally insulated, making them resistant to heat. They ought to be installed in future aircraft engines and are able to move themselves to hard to reach places in the engine where they can release a group of ‘swarm’ robots. These swarm robots are 10 millimetres tall and travel through the engine carrying cameras that human operators can check. This way they can inspect the engine wherever they want without having to remove the whole turbine engine from the plane. At this moment manually removing engines is a costly and time-consuming task which the robots can easily solve. The swarm robots can also execute minor repairments themselves, like repairing thermal coatings. The micro robots are currently still in development.
WHY IT´S COOL?
- These small robots can massively simplify the maintenance and repairment of aircraft engines; they can be operated from a far and can reach every spot of the engine. This way it will take less time and effort to spot malfunctions and it will also create a safer work environment for the maintenance workers.
- The robots work symbiotically with humans, they don’t replace them but work with them.
WHY IT HAS FUTURE GROWTH POTENTIAL?
- Micro robots could change the future of any sort of vehicle maintenance, also in mundane situations like car malfunctions at highways. What if we all could use the benefits of robots for our cars or motorcycles?
- The micro robots could broaden their horizons in other sectors as well like hospitals. Imagine micro robots working along side with doctors or surgeons?
Image retrieved from Rolls-Royce
Rivas, S. d. (n.d.). Swarm Robots. Retrieved from Rolls Royce: https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/our-stories/insights/2018/swarm-robots.aspx
Schilperoord, P. (2018, October 17). ROBOTKAKKERLAKKEN INSPECTEREN VLIEGTUIGMOTOR.Retrieved from De Ingenieur: https://www.deingenieur.nl/artikel/robotkakkerlakken-inspecteren-vliegtuigmotor