REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN —
Leaving dangerous inspection work to robots in inhospitable or confined spaces while protecting the environment through infrastructure maintenance is a cornerstone of Inuktun’s philosophy.
So when University of Regina researcher Mehran Mehrandezh and intern Abhijit Chilukuri advised us they were researching a robot that could survey underwater mooring lines that support off-shore oil rigs, we were happy to jump on board and help.
Complex systems of mooring lines anchored hundreds of metres down to the seabed keep oil rigs tethered in place. Due to the depth, humans are very limited in how they can inspect these important lines without robotic assistance.
A failure in any of the mooring lines could put lives and the environment at risk.
The duo’s robot, once complete, will be able to travel up and down kilometres of cable or pipe while employing an Inuktun Spectrum camera equipped with lasers. Due to the depths necessary, accurate cable inspection has been prone to human error. A robot will be able to accurately inspect and measure the cables to ensure precise results.
According to Mehrandehz, the lasers on the Spectrum camera are used as a scaling factor, and if there are any discrepancies in the integrity of the mooring lines, the laser will generate discontinuity in the image, alerting inspectors to a problem.
Providing assistance to the university’s research builds on Inuktun’s efforts to keep people safe and the environment free of man-made industrial accidents.
“Besides dollar and cent factors, there are environmental factors,” Colin Dobell, Inuktun president and CEO, told Global News Regina last week. “Everybody knows about what happened in the Gulf of Mexico and the mess that created. Certainly nobody wants that to happen again.”
A working version of the robot being developed by Mehrandezh and Chilukuri is expected to be completed and in the field within two years.