Cube: Future of Infrastructure Inspection

Case ID:


Infrastructure inspection is a critical societal challenge. With aging infrastructure, including approximately 67,000 structurally deficient highway bridges in the United States, timely and accurate inspections are critical for safety and economic competitiveness. However, current manual human inspections can be inaccurate, slow, costly, and hazardous. While there have been developments in robotics for inspection tasks, many designs are limited by their inability to handle complex structures or cannot perform in-depth inspections required for detecting hidden faults.


Cube is an advanced hybrid robotic system specifically designed for civil infrastructure inspection. It features a compact, cubical design that integrates the ability to fly, climb, and swim, enabling the robot to approach and inspect diverse structures, including air, body, and underwater parts. This novel robot incorporates a 360-degree actuator/manipulator mechanism that facilitates contact-based checking in 3D orientations, and it employs gusting wind and air landing controllers to handle unique working conditions. To adapt to various complex infrastructural architectures, Cube employs four primary functions: a flying function for flexible navigation and data collection using cameras, a climbing function for in-depth contact-based inspections, a swimming function for underwater inspections, and a 360-degree manipulator for 3D touch-based checking and scanning. The features are modular to optimize load, assembled for required tasks and disassembled when unnecessary.


  • Versatility: Cube's ability to fly, climb, and swim makes it adaptable to various environments and infrastructures. It can handle complex structures and conduct in-depth inspections, overcoming the limitations of many current robotic designs.
  • Efficiency: Cube can conduct inspections significantly faster and more thoroughly than manual methods, thanks to its automated functionalities and modular design.
  • Safety: The use of Cube reduces the risks associated with manual human inspections of potentially hazardous structures.

The Cube aims to enhance the efficiency and safety of civil infrastructure inspections, significantly replacing manual human inspections which tend to be inaccurate, slow, and hazardous. With its multimodal capabilities, it is well-suited to inspect various structures including bridges, wind turbines, electric towers, oil rigs, ships, and more.

Related Patent and Publication

  • Patent pending
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ray Siripirom
Senior Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
Hung (Jim) La
Son Nguyen