The SPRINT Robotics Collaborative, in collaboration with Chevron, organized its 4th International Seminar on April 11th & 12th 2017, in Houston, Texas, USA. The 2-day Seminar, hosted at Chevron’s Global headquarters, was titled “Inspection & Maintenance Robotics: Driving Efficiency” and saw leaders in the associated industries share their perspectives on the status, requirements and need for the application of inspection and maintenance robotics.

The Seminar was organized on the back of the successful 2016 SPRINT Robotics Seminar in Houston (also hosted by Chevron) and had a turnout of 122 attendees which represented 72 different companies ranging from oil and gas companies, robotic technology developers, NDT service providers, knowledge centers, academia, regulators, and more. While the majority of the companies were based in North America, the seminar had a large European turnout and a number of companies from Japan and Singapore were also represented.

Day 1 of the Houston Seminar saw a number of oil and gas majors sharing their views, interests and experiences related to inspection and maintenance robotics in their industries. Buddy Lang, General Manager of Facilities Engineering at Chevron delivered the keynote address, after which the audience was treated to highly informative and thought-provoking presentations from Chevron, Total and BP. The 2nd half of the day offered perspectives and developments from a service industry perspective via presentations by IRISNDT and EM&I, while NASA, NineSigma and the Singapore Economic Development Board shared interesting opportunities for the development of new technologies.

An important item on the day’s agenda was the official release of the SPRINT Robotics Strategic Roadmap (available here). The day concluded with a panel discussion and a networking dinner.

Professor Satoshi Tadokoro, President of IEEE RAS, delivered the keynote address on Day 2. The day’s agenda was somewhat different to that if Day 1 with the needs and opportunities for robotics in other industries and other areas of the value chain being considered. Presentations by BASF and AkzoNobel offered perspectives from the Chemical industry, Boeing provided an interesting insight into robotics in the aerospace industry, and Rice University provided the audience with an update on robotic research from academia. Chevron Technology Ventures gave insights on the scouting and adoption of new technologies and 2 API inspectors shared the challenges and requirements by the industry in daily practice.

The Seminar hosted an exhibition and, following on the success of our previous events, they were also given the opportunity to briefly introduce their companies to the audience and share a case study. Ranging from robotics and technology developers to inspection service providers, a total of 21 companies made use of this opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities, commitment and support towards growing and enhancing the inspection and maintenance robotics industry. In addition, the morning of April 13th, following the 2-day seminar, was set aside for technology demonstrations at the PRCI Technology Development Centre in Houston. This additional event was very well received, with 7 companies demonstrating their technologies and a turnout of approximately 60 people.

The 2017 SPRINT Robotics Seminar in Houston was a great success and was a clear demonstration of the industry progress and acceptance of inspection and maintenance robotics. Attendees shared their appreciation for the relevant topics addressed during the Seminar, the meaningful discussions and the networking opportunities.

Our next seminar will be hosted by Dietsmann in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Wednesday,  December 13th, 2017. Keep an eye on our website for announcements.