Hydroelectric power dams provide renewable energy, but monitoring the condition of the infrastructure is a challenge. A key part of the inspections is managing corrosion in the penstocks—large, sewer-like tubes that move water from its original source to the turbine that generates power. Inspecting them traditionally includes dewatering the dam, then working in dark, slippery conditions to place scaffolding in the penstock to reach higher points. Each inspection takes a few days, and is only performed when other maintenance takes place. With microbotic technology, infrastructure assessment takes only a few minutes. A microbot drone flies into the penstock semi-autonomously and captures video footage of the condition of the pipes. While still in its final stages of development, the technology is expected to be deployed widely in the next few years.
Gamechanger added in 2016.