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Lockheed built a robot that finds and repairs pinholes in airships

The Self-Propelled Instrument for Airship Damage Evaluation and Repair

Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division has created a robot that can find and repair tiny holes on blimps. The Self-Propelled Instrument for Airship Damage Evaluation and Repair, known as Spider, is designed to work with Lockheed's new hybrid airship, which is essentially a giant blimp designed to move heavy cargo into areas without proper roads.

Spider comes in two parts — one for the inner surface and one for the outer area — which magnetically pair and inspect the airship using light sensors. If Spider finds a hole, it can patch it and send a before and after image to the operator for verification.

Prior to Spider, the only way to search for the tiny pinholes that can pop up on blimps was to manually check the surface area with a high-powered light. Now Lockheed can use multiple Spider robots to scan an airship, saving time (and keep engineers from walking around with giant lamp for hours). It's unclear if Lockheed has begun sharing its technology with other companies, but there's no doubt the airship industry will want to get its hands on the Spider.