Find Leaks — Save Water — Protect Infrastructure

The Problem:

240,000 US water main breaks a year

$200,000 infrastructure damage each break

20% of the world’s treated water is lost daily



WatchTower Robotics is an MIT startup and our goal is to make water distribution systems safer and more efficient.

Our robot, named Lighthouse, is a soft body, tether-less robot for finding leaks early and accurately in water distribution pipes. It can be put into pipes from any T junction or hydrant, and inspect the pipes without interruption to water service.

Our cloud based analytics platform creates a “google maps of pipes” highlighting the leaks, informing the pipe operator the location and size of the leaks as well as the likelihood of catastrophic failure.

Join a select group by making your pipe network state of the art, saving millions in the process.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the limitation of this technology?

Our robots can only detect leaks in pressurized pipes with a flow. The minimum pressure requirement was validated at 0.8 Bar (or 10 psi), and the minimum flow speed is 0.1 m/s (0.3 ft/s).

How do you put the robot into the pipe and take it out?

The robot can be put into a pipe through an existing T junction or hydrant on the pipe. The robot can be captured by a net placed in a downstream T junction or hydrant.

Do you need different size robots for different size pipes?

Yes. Each robot is optimized for one size pipe, with the ability to adapt to 20% pipe diameter changes. We have built robots for 50mm (2inch) and 300mm (12inch) diameter pipes.

Can the robot get stuck in pipes?

The robot is soft and squeezable to avoid getting stuck in the pipe. It can bend in order to enter the pipes through T junctions, and go around pipe elbows, very sharp ones. It adapts to up to 20% pipe diameter changes due to dirt in the pipe or pipe deformation, so it is very hard to get the robot stuck in the pipe. In most cases, even if it was stuck, it would be momentary; the water pressure would push it through the pipe. The only cases where it could get stuck is butterfly valves and pipes with significantly blockage.