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GE’s Bio-inspired Giant Earthworm-like Tunneling Robot

A demonstration of GE’s bio-inspired giant earthworm-like tunneling robot. The robot is shown digging through dirt in a test apparatus set up in the Robotics Lab at GE Research in Niskayuna, NY. Mimicking the rhythmic movements of earthworms moving through soil and force of tree roots growing into the ground, this bio-inspired soft robot design developed by GE researchers could enable faster, more efficient ways to dig underground tunnels. The development of this tunneling robot is part of a 15- month, $2.5 MM project through DARPA’s Underminer program to develop faster, more efficient ways to dig tunnels in support of critical military operations. The new capabilities under development could enable a multitude of robotic applications, ranging from non-destructive inspection and repair of industrial infrastructure pipe inspection to supporting wireless infrastructure construction. Acknowledgement: This material is based upon work supported by DARPA TTO under award Acquisition Services Directorate (AQD) number D19AC00018.