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10
Way Down in the Hole

Solo's rubber track system can slog through some pretty disgusting territory.

Image courtesy RedZone Robotics

You don't like to think about it, I know, but all those toilets and drains in your life are just gateways to another world -- a dark, stench-choked realm where rivers of human waste traverse thousands of miles' worth of pipes.

But the pipe world isn't perfect. Lines break. Caked-on fats and oils steadily clog up the works. In the old days, human waste department workers had to dig up the affected pipe sections and diagnose the problem firsthand -- a task as expensive and time-consuming as it is gross.

That's where this guy comes in. Meet the Redzone Solo, a pint-sized sewer tank with a knack for navigating 8-12 inch (200-300 millimeter) diameter pipes. Old Solo works alongside a bunch of humans who send him down manholes to explore with his 360-degree digital vision, GPS and onboard intelligence for autonomous operation.

That's right, Solo's no mere mechanical pipe puppet -- he's a state-of-the-art sewer spelunker.

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