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10 Robots With Dirty Jobs

        Science | Robotics

10
Way Down in the Hole
Solo's rubber track system can slog through some pretty disgusting territory.
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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