Helen Greiner, the co-founder of iRobot who left last year to start her own company, has announced their first project: a bridge-inspecting UAV, for which it has won a $2.4 million grant
. She announced that the company is also changing its name from the DroidWorks (as Motorola discovered, George Lucas owns the rights to the word Droid and charges a lot for it), to CyPhy Works
(almost as bad as the SciFi channel renaming itself to the SyFy Channel
According to press reports
, the company is "working on a new inspection system based on small, unmanned, hovering robots fitted with video cameras and other sensors, officials said. The planned hovering UAV would slowly move around bridges and similar structures and send back to engineers close-up, high-fidelity images and other data for remote inspection."
The idea of using UAVs for bridge inspection has been considered before by several French teams, such as this group
from CNRS and our own Jean-Louis Naudin
(picture above taken from his page on this project