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Brazil purchases underwater Robot from INESC Porto to inspect dams

A consortium of Brazilian companies has signed a three-year contract with the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto (INESC Porto) to create an autonomous underwater robot. The robot will be capable of inspecting dam structures and silting in the basins in real time with high precision and to a degree of accuracy of centimetres. The underwater robot will automatically collect information, making it possible to detect abnormalities in advance and to analyse the level of risk in dams with more precision and lower costs when compared to traditional methods. The contract, worth 1.6 million Euros, is just one more example of INESC Porto’s capacity to take its technology developed in Portugal and export it abroad.

What impact can a harsh winter have on the degradation of the infrastructure of a dam? How can silting be detected in advance to avoid the disappearance of rivers? INESC Porto has just been contracted by a consortium of Brazilian companies led by CEB Lajeado to develop, over three years, an innovative autonomous underwater robot that will inspect dams and their basins. The success of a similar robot, taken on by Águas do Oeste to monitor underwater pipelines, has catapulted this Portuguese technology onto the international market.

The system that will be developed, worth around 1.6 million Euros, will not only allow for the collection of data relating to water quality and the morphology of the hydrographic basin; it will also collect visual data in real time with a degree of accuracy of centimetres. In practice, the use of this robot will mean that the monitoring of these structures can be performed more frequently and involving lower costs. This implies that abnormalities could be detected in advance in order to avoid environmental accidents, thus guaranteeing the safety of the dam structures for a longer period of time as well as making better use of the water resources. 

INESC Porto is a member of the Portuguese cluster OCEANO XXI and this contract is the result of its efforts in the development of innovative systems with high economic impact for water policies and the maritime economy.

Porto, 19th October, 2010


Joana Ferreira

Communication | Media Advisory

Tel. +351 22 2094214

Fax +351 22 2094050

E-mail joana<dot>ferreira<at>inescporto<dot>pt



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