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The system is competing in a contest financed by hydrocarbons multinational Total. Tecnalia Technology Corporation has announced that it will be the coordinator in Spain for a European Space Agency (ESA) programme that seeks to encourage technology transfer from the space sector to terrestrial operations such as oil and gas prospecting. The purpose of the initiative is to evaluate and identify the potential terrestrial applications of aerospace technologies and act as an intermediary between providers of these developments and potential beneficiaries.
The Corporation has already played an important role in evaluating the transfer possibilities of a robot based on the ESA ExoMars rover, that has revealed a niche of opportunity on oil and gas rigs due to its ability to work in remote and hazardous environments. This robot, developed by an international team led by Spanish firm GMV, is competing in the Total oil and gas company’s Autonomous Robot for Gas and Oil Sites (Argos) Challenge, to promote the use of robots to perform work in extreme production zones.
The robot, called Foxiris, is equipped with internal navigation sensors and scientific instruments including cameras, thermal imagers, gas sensors and microphones. These allow it to inspect and monitor pressure dials, valves and level gauges, detect hot surfaces, sound alarms and localise gas leaks. It is a water resistant, all-terrain robot whose drive system is based on tracks for motion, with front and rear flippers added to climb stairs and over pipes.