Severn Trent is nuts and bolts about new robot tech

The water company is extending a trial to find leaks in its pipes

The Big Zero report

Severn Trent is expanding a trial to find leaks in its water pipes in the UK using a robot.

It looks like a badminton shuttlecock and is very flexible and “fills” pipes – allowing it to travel with the flow of the water, logging its position and leak information as it goes.

The data can be retrieved wirelessly and a map of leaks can also be produced.

The device, called Lighthouse and created by Dr You Wu who got his PhD from MIT this year, was trialled at its test site previously – Severn Trent is now working with US-based WatchTower Robotics on creating and testing the converted robot with UK specifications.

A Severn Trent spokesperson told ELN the next trial is expected to start in early 2019.

Deputy Chief Engineer Bob Strear added: “We’re working closely with [You] on a number of initiatives, including looking at a UK-specific model and seeing whether we can partner with other overseas water companies in a much-extended trial.

“Our initial aim is to get a dozen or so trial robots that we can hand out to our engineers in real world situations to see how they perform. It’s incredibly exciting and could be a real game changer when it comes to tackling leakage.”

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