NASA is loaning Woodside Energy one of its robots to see how the technology could be used to tackle jobs that are too dangerous for humans.

As part of a new partnership between the two organisations, the Australian oil and gas giant will receive a NASA Robonaut for a five-year deployment in Perth.

The robonaut is a dexterous humanoid robot designed and built at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Robonauts are already being used for simple, repetitive, or especially dangerous tasks in places such as the International Space Station.

Now the robonaut will be getting its hands dirty at Woodside’s operations. The company says the machine could perform tasks from more than 300 ideas suggested by its operators, engineers and maintenance workers.

NASA won’t be doing all the heavy lifting, Woodside will contribute its advanced cognitive science technology, being developed in its Western Australian operations, to the partnership.

“This is a unique partnership for NASA and is an exciting opportunity to accelerate Woodside’s innovative cognitive science program,” said Woodside’s senior vice president and chief technology officer Shaun Gregory.

“The partnership fits well with our collaborative approach to innovation. We want the best thinkers from inside and outside our company to be working on solutions that unlock value in our operations. It also supports the Western Australian innovation agenda and will help our state realise its potential to be a global centre for scientific and technological excellence,” he said.

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