Achieves world’s first autonomous landing of an aerial robot on a pipe for wall thickness inspection!

  • H2020 PILOTING Project advanced experiments combining innovative robots and IoT technology have recently been conducted to revolutionize refinery operations and achieve unprecedented advancements in safety and efficiency in inspection and maintenance tasks, resulting in cost and time reductions. One notable achievement is the world's first autonomous landing of an aerial robot on a refinery pipeline to measure wall thickness.

These experiments took place at Chevron Oronite's headquarters in L'Havre, France, utilizing specialized robots and IoT technology to streamline data collection. Key scenarios and robots involved in different types of inspections include:

  • Inspection of large structures using AeroX, an advanced robot designed by CATEC for precision and safety.
  • Pipe inspection using CATEC's HYBRID robot and WTR's UT Crawler, enabling early detection of potential issues and better maintenance planning.
  • Pressure vessel inspection with WTR's BIKE robot, improving efficiency and reducing associated risks.
  • Terrain monitoring through robots from ETHz and ROBOTNIK, enabling real-time data collection and efficient space management in refineries.

The integration of IoT technology with these robots has been crucial for data collection and analysis.

All these technologies have been integrated into the PILOTING I&M platform, providing a comprehensive end-to-end digital inspection solution using robots. These innovations aim to enhance infrastructure maintenance, increase safety levels, and consequently, improve environmental protection against accidents.

These revolutionary advances position the European project PILOTING as a model of innovation and sustainability for the global refinery industry. The findings and solutions developed within this research framework are expected to serve as the basis for future commercial products after the project concludes at the end of 2023.

For more information on the PILOTING project, visit