Robots and drones will soon be performing a portion of Salt River Project’s dirty work. These highly intricate robots are being developed to inspect miles of remote irrigation canals, ditches and pipes for sampling purposes as well as to remove mussels blocking narrow pipes. This new method will increase efficiency and limit the amount of resources, people and time it takes to get the job done currently. (1)
Arizona State University’s Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory is working on an unmanned aerial vehicle to maintain 131 miles of open irrigation canals and 1,00 miles of lateral ditches and pipes. Ideally the vehicle will be able to use advanced object recognition and self-piloting abilities to collect water samples with its lightweight flexible graspers or “fingers”. (2)
Even though SRP removes dirt and debris, uses herbicides, and has tens of thousands of fish to control algae and pondweed in the open canals they still have a pipe problem. Quagga mussels clog up the narrow pipes blocking the water thus lowering their efficiency. To help solve the mussel problem ASU’s Integrating Design, Engineering and Analysis Laboratory is developing a robotic fish to “swim” through those pipes to remove them. (1)
- Gerbis, Nicholas. Lifeblood Of The Desert: Salt River Project Teams Turn To ASU Robots To Maintain Canal System. 11 4 2018. https://kjzz.org/content/633316/lifeblood-desert-salt-river-project-teams-turn-asu-robots-maintain-canal-system. 27 4 2018.
- U.S. News. Salt River Project Looks to ASU Robots to Maintain Canals. 15 4 2018. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/arizona/articles/2018-04-15/salt-river-project-looks-to-asu-robots-to-maintain-canals. 27 4 2018.
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