The San Francisco-based startup claims that its new non-contact heat drilling robot can consistently advance over the hardest rock on Earth, usually destroying drilling rigs. In addition, it can be done quickly and cheaply, enabling the implementation of many underground infrastructure projects economically.
The semi-autonomous Swift robotic system can create tunnels 46-152 cm in diameter in any underground area, exploding the rock with a very hot high pressure warhead so that it heats up, burns and flies away. Founded by businessman Kim Abrams, Petra demonstrated the robot’s abilities by digging a 24 – inch tunnel through the Sioux quartz site. In an interview with CNBC It has been described as “the hardest rock on earth.” Swift is 2.5 cm per minute.
The company claims that the new robot uses a combination of remote control and machine vision to perform its task and is the first microtunneling robot to be able to pull out of its own tunnel. Petra says her new technology is valuable “30 to 90 percent less than traditional trenchless methods”, Opens access to previously non-drilling areas. Important electrical and communication cables can be operated underground, where they are protected from destruction, wildfires, strong winds and other threats.
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