Earth-digging robot could make laying underground cables much easier and cheaper

A robot developed by the MIT university could help bring down the enormous costs of laying underground and undersea cables. 

The machine is being called RoboClam – because it was based on how clams behave – is a relatively small device and it’s been called “the Ferrari of underwater diggers” because it’s particularly good at digging through soft, watery soil, or sand.

It was developed by MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, along with Bluefin Robotics, and the team was led by Anete Hosoi.  Continue reading Earth-digging robot could make laying underground cables much easier and cheaper

Competition to mine outer space could change mining industry on Earth

For the past eight years, Nasa has been running a competition to find the team that can develop the best robotic systems to mine the moon. 

This year’s winners were announced recently, and Nasa gave out prizes and commendations for about 10 teams.

The discoveries made those 10 teams and all the others that entered the competition may end up in the mining industry here on Earth, long before they even take off for the moon.  Continue reading Competition to mine outer space could change mining industry on Earth

Cheap batteries will accelerate sales of electric cars worldwide, says report

electric car illustration
Picture courtesy of Alternative Energy News

The growth in popularity of electric vehicles in China alone, even if it’s a trend not followed anywhere else in the world, is enough to drive the automotive market to make fundamental changes to the way it manufactures cars as well as the raw materials and fuels it uses. 

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says sales of new energy vehicles – which includes hydrogen – reached 507,000 units in 2016, representing an increase of 53 per cent compared with 2015.

In the previous year, the increase was similar. The steep upward trend seems to have taken off in 2014, according to analysis by BloombergContinue reading Cheap batteries will accelerate sales of electric cars worldwide, says report

Woodside Energy to train Nasa’s Robonaut to work in oil and gas industry

nasa robonaut

Woodside Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have launched a new collaboration program under which the Australian independent oil and gas company will develop applications for Nasa’s Robonaut in its own operations. 

Under the partnership Nasa will loan Woodside an Anthropomorphic Robonaut System for a 60-month deployment in Perth. Together the two organisations will explore how the robotic technology could be used to improve safety, reliability and efficiency in the high-risk and remote environments where Woodside operates.

Woodside will contribute its advanced cognitive science technology, being developed in its Western Australian operations, and Nasa will share its expertise in Robonauts that are already being used for simple, repetitive, or especially dangerous tasks in places such as the International Space Station.  Continue reading Woodside Energy to train Nasa’s Robonaut to work in oil and gas industry

Volvo claims to be ‘first in the world’ with self-driving truck in underground mine

Swedish automaker determined to take the lead in autonomous car technology

Volvo’s fully autonomous truck is the first in the world to be tested in operations deep underground in the Kristineberg Mine, in Sweden, according to the company.

The self-driving truck is part of a development project aimed at improving the transport flow and safety in the mine.

The truck will cover a distance of 7 kilometres, reaching 1,320 metres underground in the narrow mine tunnels.  Continue reading Volvo claims to be ‘first in the world’ with self-driving truck in underground mine

Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology

space shuttle

Houston company says it is bringing advanced technology from Nasa to elevate oil and gas operations through robotics and automation

A Texas business grounded in aerospace experience and space technology is changing the face of oil and gas.

Houston Mechatronics, a company founded by former Nasa roboticists, is incorporating intelligent automation and robotics into the energy industry in ways that streamline operations, improve both costs and quality, and remove workers from hazardous environments.

The recent focus on oil and gas was a natural one, says Matthew Ondler, Houston Mechatronics’ co-founder and president. Although the company works with clients across a range of industries, energy is feeling a pinch.  Continue reading Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology

ABB to automate 13-kilometer long conveyor system at Chilean copper mine

abb conveyor belt

Automation solution for transporting copper ore will operate at highest levels of availability and efficiency

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, won an order from Tenova TAKRAF Chile to automate one of the world’s most powerful conveyor belt systems to be built at Chuquicamata Mine in Chile.

The belt system will deliver copper ore from the underground mine directly to the concentrator plant, 13 kilometers away from the mine site.

When complete, the conveyor system will be one of the world’s largest and most complex, covering both steep gradients and long distances, with conveyors flights powered up to 20 MW and 55 MW in total. This is same amount of energy typically needed to power 41,000 homes.

In the final stage the system will transport over 11,000 tons of material per hour, the same freight as approximately 158 wagon trains.  Continue reading ABB to automate 13-kilometer long conveyor system at Chilean copper mine