back to article Asimov's ghost! Oil and gas rigs could be taken over by robots

The European Space Agency has announced that a robot, building upon its ExoMars Rover, is bidding to win a place on oil and gas production rigs around the world, to work in remote and hazardous environments. Oil and gas giant Total's Autonomous Robot for Gas and Oil Sites (Argos) Challenge is a three-year competition to …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. JonP

    "Then, using artificial intelligence, we want the robots to be able to read and record the values on the instrumentation, and to know autonomously whether they are normal or not. If there is an abnormal situation, the robot has to alert the remote operator,"

    Heh, you'd think some could invent some kind of supervisory control program to do that sort of thing, maybe include a bit of data acquisition to remotely read the instruments too, that way the robots wouldn't need to wander around the plant and could lounge around in a specially designed room drinking oil all day...

    1. Simon Harris

      I really want them to look like Huey Dewey and Louie, and for them to spend their time playing poker.

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      The first thing I thought was - Total thinks that the best way to remotely read a pressure meter is to build a robot and have it walk there to look at it? Are they insane?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not if they assume damage has occured, severing the feeds.

        1. notowenwilson

          In which case you'd probably be shutting down the plant.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    Ah but how do you square the first and zeroeth laws of Robotics with the AGW 'debate'? The zeroeth seems particularly troublesome :)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Martin Budden

        You can recall something for 20,000 years? I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast!

  4. Simon Harris

    Argos challenge.

    Is that giving it fingers and making it dexterous enough to turn the pages in the laminated book of dreams?

  5. Identity


    Assuming (and we all know what 'to assume' does...) they succeed, would they then employ the droids in all oil and gas circumstances, given that it is cheaper in long run (or so they assume...)? Oil and gas fracking has driven a lot of new employment in these here United States, such as the boom in North Dakota, which previously employed but a few bachelor farmers, used car salesmen and a sheriff or two.

    What will happen to the roughnecks? Think of the children!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought the argos challenge was finding a working pen?

  7. Little Mouse Silver badge

    human error?

    As well as putting artificially intelligent robots in charge of our oil supply, may I suggest that we also put them in charge of our nuclear power plants and missile silos as well?

    Humankind error will be well and truly a thing of the past.

  8. Richard Ball

    Hmm. Proving that your autonomous, "intelligent' robot software makes for an intrinsically safe system sounds like a lot of expensive fun. Time to get into the approvals business I think.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A.I. is hard."

    That is all.

  10. Cornrat


    Can someone tell me the title of an Asimov story in which the supervisors of a team of ore-mining robots were baffled when the robots suddenly stopped working and instead marched forwards and backwards. It took some outside observer (probably someone that Asimov identified with) to explain such weird behaviour: the controlling computer was 'tapping its fingers' whilst trying to solve a problem!

    1. Jim 43

      Re: Finger-tapping!

      Catch that Rabbit

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