AI for Good blog

Inspection robots: Navigating the intersection of safety, efficiency, and sustainability

Global Summit | Robotics for Good

By Xiaoran Tang

The 2023 edition of the AI for Good Global Summit will take place in Geneva, 6-7 July. Over 30 cutting-edge robots are gearing up to take part in the Robotics for Good exhibition, which will show the potential of autonomous robots to drive progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this series of blog posts, we will be introducing some of the robots attending the Summit and explain how they are contributing to the SDGs.

Episode 9: Robots for inspection and maintenance

Robots for inspection and maintenance are revolutionizing the way industries operate and safeguard asset integrity. Tailored for a spectrum of applications such as inspection, monitoring, and search and rescue, these automated robots thrive in environments like oil facilities, power plants, mines and infrastructure networks. Equipped with cutting-edge sensors and imaging technologies, they effortlessly pinpoint defects and perform maintenance tasks, thereby averting catastrophic failures and boosting operational efficiency. These robots go beyond industrial scenarios and show immense potentials in improving urban living by aiding in structural inspection and assessments, ensuring the safety and functionality of public utilities. In an increasingly connected world, such robots are indispensable for sustainable development and enhancing people’s life.

Inspection and maintenance operation robots coming to the AI for Good Global Summit


Elios 3 is a remarkable innovation in autonomous inspection and mapping designed by Flyability. Elios 3 goes beyond being a mere flying camera; it is a powerful instrument for data collection. With the integration of computer vision and LiDAR mapping, this indoor drone is multifaceted, providing access to efficient and systematic inspections without the need for extensive training. In addition, Elios 3 streamlines reporting through an intuitive interface centered around a 3D representation of the asset and enhance situational awareness via its integrated piloting application. This flying robot can gather data for inspection and survey in restricted areas from a safe distance and provide unprecedented underground insights.

CERNbot is a modular and versatile robotic platform developed at CERN for intricate operations in challenging environments. This highly customizable platform can accommodate up to two commercial robotic arms, which can operate in tandem through coordinated movements. CERNbot is equipped with an array of cameras including visual, point cloud feedback, and thermal variants, along with environmental sensors that monitor radiation, temperature, and oxygen levels. These robots are remotely controlled by an operator at CERN, allowing for safe positioning on the surface while the robot operates underground.


ANYmal robot is an intelligent and versatile robotic solution developed by the Swiss robotic company ANYbotics. This innovative robot aims to improve work conditions, enhance productivity and support increasingly sustainable industrial facilities by providing inspection and maintenance solutions in complex and even explosive industrial environments that can potentially endanger human workers. ANYmal robots have been supporting inspection in oil and gas, power, mining, chemicals, transportation and construction, and ensuring safety of inspectors in these fields.

Boston Dynamics

Spot is an agile inspection robot developed by Bostom Dynamics to transform the industry. Spot is a quadruped robot known for its remarkable mobility, stability, and versatility in navigating through diverse terrains and environments. Equipped with advanced sensors and cameras, Spot can help organizations to monitor and operate their sites, gather high-quality data, automate routine tasks and ensure safety as well as extend the reach of the team. Moreover, the inspection robot’s design allows the integration of various payloads and customizations, making Spot an adaptable and innovative solution for a wide range of scenarios.

Inspection and maintenance operation robots supporting the SDGs

Elios 3, CERNbot, ANYmal and Spot can help achieve SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing through performing inspections in hazardous environments instead of human workers. In industrial settings, there are often spaces that contain toxic substances or structural vulnerabilities that can potentially damage workers’ health conditions. Elios 3 and ANYmal can carry out inspections in these spaces for data gathering through its advanced camera and sensor systems while CERNbot can perform tasks that would demand human intervention. These robots can reduce human exposure to harmful conditions and minimize the risk of accidents, thus promoting the occupational health and safety of inspectors and surveyors.

By leveraging cutting-edge technology like Elios 3, ANYmal and Spot robots, we can work towards achieving the targets of SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. With the advanced data-harvesting capacities, these robots can perform inspection and monitoring tasks of critical facilities such as nuclear power plants, oil rigs and power grid, which can improve safety and efficiency in the energy production process. Inspection robots can also be used for reliable operation of public facilities, facilitating the provision of affordable and clean energy which is a central part of SDG 7.

Robots such as Elios 3, CERNbot, ANYmal and Spot can significantly contribute to SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth through robotic support in performing difficult and tedious tasks. For instance, ANYmal performs automated routine inspections in the oil & gas industry, which reduces the need for human intervention in hazardous offshore environments and enhances worker safety. This inspection robot generates insights that facilitate swift operational adjustments, streamlining workflows and cutting costs. As a result, these robots not only increase productivity but also drive innovation and foster safer working conditions.

Elios 3 and ANYmal are pivotal in advancing SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Elios 3 can enhance industrial process efficiency, curtailing unnecessary maintenance and repairs, thereby reducing waste and fostering responsible resource utilization. Meanwhile, ANYmal can facilitate sustainable urban landscapes by conducting infrastructure inspections, environmental monitoring, and assisting in search and rescue operations. These robots embody the essence of SDG 12, steering society toward mindful consumption and sustainable production practices.

The development and deployment of robots such as Elios 3, CERNbot, ANYmal and Spot are transforming industries by enhancing operational efficiency and safety. By leveraging the advantages of this technology, we pave the way for a better future with more sustainability. Join us at the AI for Good Global Summit to meet these disaster response robots and their creators. Register here!

Watch our Global Summit video.