The robot collapses to a small size to be inserted into a small hole made in the gas main, where it uses an onboard camera and controls to position itself over the joint in need of repair and inject it with sealant.
The technology was developed by US-based energy research and development firm ULC Pipeline Robotics and was first used in the UK by SGN in London in 2013.
The cast iron joint sealing robot (CISBOT) system was used in Dalkeith Road, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, this month and will this week be deployed in George Street in the centre of the city.
SGN team manager Matt Ferguson said the technology would “minimise disruption” to the public, as only two excavations in the road would be needed.
“In fact, 96 per cent of our work will be invisible as it will take place under the ground,” he added. “CISBOT provides the opportunity to mend non-leaking joints to extend their life and prevent future leakage and disruption. The equipment is potentially capable of remediating or repairing up to 130 joints from each single small excavation.”
SGN managing director in Scotland John Lobban said: “Robotics technology reduces the needs for multiple excavations and trenches, reduces disruption on the highway and saves time and money, which is excellent news for our customers and other stakeholders.”