Steel Climbing Robot for Steel Bridge Inspection

Case ID:




One of the most important causes of deterioration of steel bridges is corrosion, which causes section loss or cracks in the steel. For some critical components of a steel bridge, it could cause the collapse of the whole bridge. To prevent this, the most common approach to steel bridge inspection is visual inspection by inspectors with inspection trucks. However, this method is vulnerable to human error, and affects traffic negatively as the slow inspection truck takes up space. A new technology for a magnet based-inspection robot could change all that.



Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed a steel climbing robot that can perform non-destructive structural tests and examinations. In addition to being able to inspect steel bridges without inhibiting traffic, this robot can also be used to inspect oil tanks, pipelines, petro-chemical tanks and railways. The robot uses magnetic adhesion forces in order to climb walls and carries an NDT wheel probe in order to detect weld defects, wall thickness and corrosion. Commands from the ground can remotely adjust NDT parameters, robot speeds and, control inspection tasks.



  • The robot is small enough not to impede traffic
  • Magnetic wheels allow the robot to climb into hard-to-reach places
  • Sensors are non-destructive






Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cara Baird
Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
Hung (jim) La