Rolls-Royce may use bug-like robots to assist airplane engine repair

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Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce showed off a handful of small robots this week that could aid in the inspection and repair of airplane engines sometime in the future. Though still under development, the tiny robots could lead to faster, less labor-intensive engine inspections as well as cost reductions for engine maintenance. The technologies, which were displayed at the Farnborough Airshow, are being developed in partnership with other companies as well as researchers at the University of Nottingham and Harvard University.

Swarm robots are small, cockroach-inspired robots that in theory will be able to be delivered inside of an engine and with small cameras, provide a look inside. This way, the engine wouldn’t have to be removed from the plane in order for an inspection to take place. Researchers at Harvard University are working on scaling down the robots, which, as of now, are still too big for this type of work.