GMV takes part in the ARGOS Challenge of the oil and gas company TOTAL

ARGOS is a 3-year competition sponsored and brokered by TOTAL with the support of the French National Research Agency (ANR)

The Foxiris team, led by GMV, involves the participation also of the Portuguese company IdMind, the Automatisms and Robotics Center of the CSIC and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM-CAR)

The ARGOS Challenge (Autonomous Robot for Gas & Oil Sites) is a 3-year competition sponsored and brokered by the oil and gas company TOTAL with the support of the French National Research Agency (ANR). The idea of this challenge is to encourage the development of advanced robotics capabilities in the oil and gas industry. After an evaluation process operated by ANR, TOTAL has financed five teams to take each other on in this Challenge. “We aim to foster the development of a new generation of autonomous or remote-controlled surface robots, able to move around on an onshore or offshore site in a potentially explosive environment to reduce personnel’s exposure to potentially high-risk situations and support operators in their maintenance and inspection tasks”, Daniel Plathey, Vice President R&D for Exploration-Production at TOTAL.


In recent years GMV has pinpointed the mobile robotics sector as a top-priority area for spin-off application of its knowledge and expertise built up in satellite navigation, avionics and the development of safety-critical onboard software systems. As part of this overarching vision the Spanish multinational is now leading one of the teams competing in the ARGOS challenge, with participation also from the Portuguese company IdMind as robot manufacturer, the Center of Automation and Robotics of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas: CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: UPM-CAR) as academic partner. “We have submitted a robot that meets all the requirements of the ARGOS Challenge. Our solution FOXIRIS (Flipper-based Oil&Gas ATEX Intelligent RobotIcs System) is based on the adaptation of a well-known, robust and commercially available platform (RaposaNG from IDMind) complemented with the participation of UPM-CAR for ultrasound detection and visual perception”, explains Alberto Medina, GMV’s Head of Robotics and coordinator of the team FOXIRIS, selected by TOTAL on June, 10th to take part in this challenge.

FOXIRIS is an all-terrain, explosion proof and waterproof robot (protection level IP67); its locomotion is based on tracks enhanced with a few add-on features: 

  • Front and rear flippers for climbing stairs and overcoming pipelines and other obstacles. 
  • A robotic arm equipped with a set of sensors, day- and night-cameras, a thermal imaging device and a matrix of microphones for flexible performance of visual inspection tasks.

This is the first time that GMV and its partners have worked for the oil and gas industry in the field of rovers and terrestrial robots. As experts in the field of space robotics, however, the team is convinced that its robotics solutions have now matured enough for extension into other fields. “I’m very proud and honored to be leading a very strong team of highly skilled and motivated engineers”, concluded Alberto Medina.

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