Carnegie Mellon University

Sensabot Inspection Robot

Sensabot is a remotely-operated mobile robot that inspects and monitors industrial facilities. It is designed to carry out on-site inspections in hazardous environments, isolated facilities and other places that are difficult or dangerous for personnel to access.  


Benefits include reduced risk and improved efficiency of operation. A human operator remotely drives Sensabot and uses its sensors to inspect pipes, fittings and valves. It can operate in extreme temperatures and explosive and toxic atmospheres. Sensabot is designed to meet IECEx Zone 1 standards for explosive environments and ANSI safety standards for guided industrial vehicles.  

Hazardous facilities create a dangerous environment for humans who need to perform frequent, routine inspection. NREC built a mobile robot to inspect and monitor these facilities that are often in remote locations. Sensabot performs the same tasks that human inspectors do, such as monitoring the condition of pipes and valves.  An operator controls the robot from a safer, more convenient location near an urban areaSensabot removes personnel from direct exposure to the facility by remotely carrying out essential inspection tasks, which significantly lowers individual risk. 
Sensabot was designed for long-term, unmanned operation in offshore and onshore oil and gas facilities. It can be used in green oil and gas fields, brownfields undergoing stimulation and enhanced recovery, and sour fields with high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. 

Mobile Base Unit 

The mobile base easily handles concrete, gravel, and steel gratings and tackles ramps, light snow, and slippery surfaces.  It can go almost anywhere in a facility that a human can (with the exception of stairs and ladders) and can make use of human-sized walkways. Ramps, elevators, and a cog rail system give it access to multiple levels of a facility. Sensabot integrates well with existing facilities.  It ships, stores, and recharges in a small base station.   Vehicle-compatible doors allow it to work both inside and outside and access parts of a facility that need to be closed-off. 


Inspection Sensors 

The inspection sensor suite includes detectors to measure concentrations of gasses such as methane, a powerful pan/tilt/zoom camera, temperature sensors, vibration sensorsmicrophone and a spotlight to operate under low light conditions.   


Sensor Boom  

A strong, lightweight sensor boom is mounted on the mobile base unit.  Operators use the 1.6-meter boom to position sensors as needed to perform inspections. The arm’s joints give it the dexterity to reach above or around obstacles to performing inspections.   



A human operator controls Sensabot via joystick through a wireless link.  Driving cameras provide a full, 360° view of its surroundings.   

Sensabot also uses LADAR and video to detect obstacles in its vicinity (such as equipment that lies in its path), supplementing a facility map.  The OCS shows where these objects are located so that operators can avoid them.   


Safety and Certification 

Sensabot automatically stops moving if anything contacts its safety bumper. It also halts if its laser scanner detects a potential collision, or if it loses contact with the operator.  Additionally, it includes a built-in watchdog that monitors onboard processes and stops the robot if they go outside pre-defined limits. 


Sensabot is designed to meet International Electrotechnical Commission (IECEx) standards for electronic equipment and ANSI safety standards for guided industrial vehicles.    
Climate Hardening 

The mobile base unit, boom, and inspection sensors are designed to withstand a sub-Arctic climate.  Sensabot can operate in temperatures that range from 40°C (100°F) to -35°C (-31°F). 



Sensabot Inspection Robot
Sensabot Inspection Robot
Sensabot Inspection Robot