Drillbotics - Student Competition

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.

Link to Drillbotics

Erik Feldmann

The project is kindly supported by the mechanical workshop of the ITE


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