ACWA Robotics is a promising company our team met during CES. They make an autonomous robot that crawls into municipal water pipes to inspect and report on the status of the local infrastructure. It could save millions for municipalities worldwide by pinpointing exactly which sections of water lines to change.

The French company has started to deploy its robot, which can move on its own in a complex maze of water pipes, many dating from decades ago. The robot is designed to move autonomously and can navigate tricky turns. It is programmed to stop and backtrack if it senses it might be stuck. It does not require the water company to shut down the pipe being inspected, as it won’t block more than 50% of the flow.

ACWA’s robot brings a lot to the table. First, it can help map the water pipeline network for which many municipalities no longer have plans. Secondly, it allows operators to gauge the current state of the pipes by capturing high-resolution photos and sensing the thickness of the possibly degrading pipes.

With such capabilities, ACWA can accurately tell municipalities where they have to upgrade their network. All water pipes will eventually need to be replaced, but there’s an enormous amount of waste without this kind of pinpoint visibility and accuracy. The robot’s work costs a tiny fraction of any repair.

We’re enthusiastic about ACWA because their product has the potential to have a worldwide impact. Water infrastructure concerns everyone on the planet; provided that pipes are large enough, this robot can help.

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