Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Space age spider turns its skills to slope safety

NEWS

A GIANT remote-controlled robot developed from European Space Agency (ESA) missions could prevent landslides on earth without the labour intensive risk factor.

Expertise from manoeuvring satellites into correct orbit has been used to develop the machine known as Roboclimber.

D'Appolonia, one of the brokers in ESA's Technology Transfer Programme, worked with Italian construction firm ICOP and landslide specialist TEVE to define the initial concept.

They realised that space technology could be used to create a robot to insert 20m rods into slopes with the potential for failure.

The result is Roboclimber, a 3,000kg giant spider on four legs, the combined effort of seven companies across four European countries as well as one university and a research institute.

Designed to work on both horizontal and vertical surfaces, its legs move and position the drilling mechanism - consisting of a number of different rods and a robotic hand. The drill can form holes 20m deep and rotate within Roboclimber's metal frame to reach the optimum drilling angle.

Maybe the most important aspect of the Roboclimber is that it will make risky jobs safer.

Thanks to remote control, accidents related to operating on high scaffolding can be eliminated and, working at a safe distance, operators will not be endangered by sudden soil movement.

The Roboclimber is now being assembled and is expected to be finished in February. Field tests to drill holes are scheduled to take place shortly after. If successful, Roboclimber will be tested on an unstable slope next year and could appear on the market in the future.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.