Solution Summary

On average, 20 percent of clean water is lost in city pipe networks, resulting in revenue loss and wasted natural resources. But leaks are hard to find and are often only discovered once the damage is severe. WatchTower Robotics uses a small robot to inspect water pipes from the inside to change the equation.

The robot discovers leaks long before they become catastrophic, saving water and enabling more robust water supplies for all. Towns and cities can partner with WatchTower Robotics to perform routine inspections to find leaks before they get to the point of critical failure, minimizing infrastructure damage, the loss of water services to homes and businesses, and all other associated costs.

Market Opportunity

  • Water loss costs each one million population city like Boston more than $10 million per year in revenue loss.
  • There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the US, wasting over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water.
  • On average, severe water leaks cause $200,000 worth of infrastructure damage per incident. The American Water Works Association estimates that the cost of restoring underground pipes in America will total at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years.


  • Won a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) grant to support pilot projects in the Boston area
  • Paid pilot in Wise County, Virginia
  • Winner of multiple pitch competition awards including MIT $100k, MIT Water Innovation Prize, 2017 HUBWeek Demo Day
  • You Wu named 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30: Manufacturing and Industry

Organizational Goals

  • In the process of fully launching corporate entity separate from MIT, including IP spin-out
  • Seeking initial round of funding summer 2018
  • Develop analysis and repair options in addition to leak detection

Existing Partnerships

WatchTower Robotics' current partnerships include:

  • Pilot programs with utilities in Virginia, Mexico, and China
  • Receives advice from MIT Venture Mentoring Service

Partnership Goals

WatchTower Robotics seeks:

  • Software expertise in data visualization and processing
  • Manufacturing expertise to help design new models that are buildable in larger numbers
  • Governmental connections to educate utilities about WatchTower Robotics as a new tech option
  • Public relations support

Solver Team

Organization Type:
For profit

Cambridge, MA, USA

Company Stage:

Working in:
USA, China, Mexico



Solution Team:

  • DG DG
  • Jonathan Miller CEO, Co-Founder, MIT
  • You Wu Research & Product Lead, MIT

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