Total is seeking entries to a competition it has launched to develop a robot that can be used for oil and gas work.
Pointing out that the oil and gas industry is characterized by a host of high-risk environments, the French oil major believes that the development of a robot that can be used for certain, repeatable tasks would help to boost health and safety within the industry.
"To enhance the safety of our employees, we decided to launch the ARGOS Challenge to build an Autonomous Robot for Gas & Oil Sites," Alain Goulois, Vice President of R&D at Total Exploration & Production, explained.
Total plans to use the robot mainly for the performance of routine tasks, such as taking equipment pressure readings, checking the temperature of certain materials and detecting gas leaks. The intention is to free up operators to focus on value-added tasks. In the event of an incident, the robot will have to supply images and data in real time.
The firm said that it is counting on open innovation to help it develop the robot, with the ARGOS Challenge aimed at attracting skills and expertise from outside of the company in order to help stimulate research into the project.
The closing date for proposals is March 18, with industry professionals and academic researchers invited to submit their proposals to www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr/ARGOS-Challenge
Total said that between three and five teams will be shortlisted in June 2014 and will receive funding for up to two-and-a-half years to design and build a robot.
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