Shell launches robot to work in hostile environments

Sensabot, the first resident mobile robot certified to work in difficult and hostile environments, has been launched by Shell.


The Sensabot system is the culmination of seven years of work with leading robotics experts from across the world, including Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, the UK’s Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) and ImProvia in the Netherlands.


“Sensabot enables colleagues to do their jobs at a safe distance, while also lowering the costs of day-to-day operations,” said Alisa Choong, Executive Vice President responsible for Digital Technologies at Shell. “Sensabot represents the strong ambition of Shell to lead in safety-enhancing technology, especially in exceptional environmental and operational situations.”


The robot will work in remote or unmanned oil and gas facilities and is designed to work for six months without requiring maintenance. Operators will be able to use Sensabot as their eyes and ears on the ground to check equipment and respond to alerts faster whilst gathering accurate real time data.

To enable a smooth integration of Sensabot into operating assets, the robot comes with an innovative rapid-deployment container and powerful private 4G-LTE system that could provide connectivity to up to 5000 devices including industrial smartphones, -tablets, people-and material-tracking and condition monitoring equipment. In industrial locations the 4G LTE is cheaper and provides more reliable coverage than other types of industrial wireless networks.

While the Sensabot platform is currently equipped for surveillance of oil and gas facilities, different manipulator arms enable it to be adapted for use by emergency services, or for maintenance purposes. Shell is seeking commercial partners to adapt Sensabot for other specialist functionalities.


Sensabot will undergo final testing at Shell’s Pernis complex in the Netherlands before being available for deployment at several of the company’s operated and non-operated ventures. These could include facilities in remote harsh environments, as well as in specific roles in refineries, chemical plants, and LNG terminals.





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