A new robot is monitoring environmental water quality in Queensland.

Utility provider Seqwater has been working with robotic researchers at QUT to create Seqwater’s Autonomous Motorised Monitoring Instrument or ‘SAMMI’.

The solar-powered, self-driving robot was built out of a need to conduct routine water quality monitoring in difficult to access locations.

The 1.7 metre robot is capable of operating autonomously in waterways, collecting water samples and measuring water quality parameters, as well as creating sonar maps of each reservoir.

It also has the ability to dock into a custom berth to allow for solar recharging and attachments for helicopter lifting into remote, inaccessible areas.

SAMMI operates by following location and task commands preloaded using a custom tablet-based user interface.

The robot moves from one location to another using a range of GPS and obstacle avoidance sensors and then collects water samples and other water quality information before returning to base.

Queensland Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has been given a demonstration of the new technology.

Dr Lynham said SAMMI would revolutionise the way Seqwater monitors its water quality.

“Water quality monitoring for drinking water and for recreation is critical to Seqwater's operations,” Dr Lynham said.

“Until now, the in-lake instruments Seqwater used to analyse and monitor water quality could only be used in fixed locations. This meant the field scientists had to travel to difficult-to-access areas in order to monitor and service these instruments.

“With this new technology in combination with Seqwater’s existing fixed network, water quality monitoring will be more efficient and effective.”

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