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Managing Oil Spills using Self-Assembling Robots

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247879D
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system and method to use self-assembling robots to help contain and manage an oil spill.

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Managing Oil Spills using Self

Managing Oil Spills using Self-

An oil spill costs billions of dollars in losses and is a serious environmental disaster, which consumes a high level of resources to recover from and/or contain. Damages range from temporary to permanent. Currently, governments and organizations most commonly use dispersants (i.e., chemical agents similar to soaps and detergents) to respond to an oil spill. However, many studies indicate that the dispersants are not efficient and can cause serious pollution .

An efficient, effective, and safe method is needed to contain and clean up oils spills.

This disclosure discusses a system and method to use self-assembling robots to help contain and manage an oil spill.

The system deploys self-assembling robots, each equipped with sea faring motors, sensors, and oil containers to quickly control and respond to an oil spill in any type of body of water (e.g., ocean, river, lake, etc.). In the event of an oil spill, either ships or aircraft transport floating self-assembling robots to the exact location of the spill event and accordingly distribute the units (e.g., place or airdrop into the water) around the area of contamination.

After deployment, each robot works to find the other robots that were deployed to create a large barrier around the contamination zone. It goes deep enough to ensure that contaminants cannot get under the barrier and high enough that passing waves and currents do not cause contamination to float over the barrier. In the worst case, a sufficient number of robots can be deployed to completely encase the area in a large sphere, though usually this would be more of a large bowl-like structure with a hole in the bottom, as oil generally stays near the surface of the water. Optionally, the bottom of the bowl could be filled in to keep out marine life.

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