ITE Students Show Skills in Drillbotics Competition

On June 6th, 2017, a team of four students from the Institute of Petroleum Engineering presented their work in the second stage of the Drillbotics competition, an international student contest.

What is Drillbotics?

DrillboticsTM is an international competition for universities to design and build a small drilling robot that uses sensors and control algorithms to autonomously drill a rock sample provided by SPE's Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS). This has to be achieved while maintaining borehole quality and integrity and drilling as quickly as possible.


The DrillboticsTM competition started in 2015, and receives attention from major universities that are associated with the oil & gas, geothermal and drilling industries. Interest and participation in the competition is growing every year.


An interdisciplinary student team, consisting of 4 students, from the Clausthal University of Technology participated with a novel design for the first time in the competition in 2017 and immediately was selected to advance into the final round.


The entered design is a fully capable drill robot which includes sophisticated technical solutions to measure while drilling and automate the drilling process. The drill robot consists of a spindle driven draw works, an electric top drive and a circulation system powered by a triplex pump.  In particular, the team was very proud to present the small scale bottom-hole-assembly (BHA) with a diameter of 25mm. It includes a hydraulic percussion hammer, which is well suited to drill in hard rock formations typically encountered in geothermal wells. In addition, the real-time capable sensory unit of the BHA includes a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer. The obtained data is used to optimize the drilling process.


A panel of internationally recognized experts, travelled to the finalist universities to evaluate the performance of the drill robots. For 2017 the universities in the end round involved were:

  • Clausthal University of Technology
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Stavanger
  • University of Texas at Austin

In Clausthal, the presentation of the drill robot was conducted on June 6th, 2017. After an introduction, and explanation of the technical design, the provided sample was drilled successfully.

The day ended with feedback and discussion round.

After the first time strong performance, the team is looking to enter the competition again in 2018.


The current design will be improved and optimized for next year’s competition, focus will be the control algorithm and BHA. Due to the existing drill robot, extensive testing will be conducted. Skilled students or doctoral candidates that are highly motivated to be part of a successful team and would like to showcase their skills in an international setting are invited to apply.  


Please contact for further information.

Nachrichtenalter: 16.07.2017 21:53


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