Why Rolls Royce is developing a cockroach robot

More and more companies resort to the solution of micro-robotics in order to deal with various kinds of problems that arise. One of these is Rolls Royce, which develops tiny robots that can penetrate the interior of aircraft engines, identify and correct problems that will occur.

For this reason, the British company is working with the robotics departments of the Harvard and Nottingham universities. These robots have the cockroach size and will have the ability to inspect the jet engines without having to dismount them from the airplane.

“They will be able to reach everywhere in the combustion chamber,” said Rolls Royce technology expert James Kelly, speaking in Farnborough’s aerospace report, adding: “If we do it conventionally it will take us five hours. With these little robots, who knows, it can take just five minutes. ”¬†Cockroaches are insects that are distinguished for their ability to pierce even in the narrowest spots.

The construction of robotic cockroach is a huge challenge for engineers. At Harvard University they have been working for eight years on a similar project on which the robot of the English company is based. They call it HAMR (Harvard’s Ambulatory MicroRobot), its length is no more than 15 mm and can carry a micro camera at its top.

At the same time, Rolls Royce is also working on a snake microbot that will be flexible and will be used as an endoscope inside the engine. It will pierce in the combustion chamber, inspect the damage and remove the fragments. At the same time, a second snake will make a temporary repair until the engine is ready for full repair.

There is currently no official information on when these micro-boats will be ready for use. What we know is that by 2020 Rolls Royce engineers will have another remotely controlled micro-engine for the compressors of the engine.

This robot, equipped with a three-dimensional scanner, will be placed in the engine by a technician and will then be remotely controlled by qualified technicians at the company’s aviation base in Derby. Those in turn will decide if the problem is such that a specialist engineer needs to travel to repair it. The goal in this case is also to reduce the time to identify and evaluate a failure and, of course, to reduce costs.