Djedi robot – Archaeological expedition

Djedi robot – archaeological expedition

Djedi is a joint international-Egyptian mission that is being carried out under the supervision of the Egyptian Supreme council of antiquities.

Research grants/funding
Passion for Innovation funding , Dassault Systèmes, France

Research lead
For the University of Leeds, Professor Rob Richardson

Research team 
Shaun Whitehead (Scoutek Ltd, UK)
TC Ng (Independent researcher, Hong Kong)
Andrew Pickering (University of Leeds, UK)
Stephen Rhodes (University of Manchester, UK)
Ron Grieve (Tekron, Canada)
Adrian Hildred (Independent researcher, UK)
Mehdi Tayoubi (Dassault Systèmes, France)
Richard Breitner (Dassault Systèmes, France)

Project overview

We have developed state of the art robotic systems to explore the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt. Our robots have the capability of climbing 70m within a confined space of 20cm by 20cm whilst deploying snake cameras and drills. On our most recent mission we successfully navigated the southern airshafts of the pyramid and deployed a snake camera and discovered writing that has been hidden for thousands of years.

A robot explorer also took pictures from inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which revealed painted hieroglyphs beyond a narrow tunnel and lines that may have been made by stonemasons. The 4500-year-old markings, seen on video images gathered by the Djedi robot expedition, provides clues to how this part of the pyramid was built.


Improved understanding of historical and cultural issues through insight into the purpose and construction of the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.



Richardson, R. et al. The “Djedi” Robot Exploration of the Southern Shaft of the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt. J. Field Robotics, 30: 323–348. 2013.

Hawass Z, Whitehead S, Ng TC, Richardson R, Pickering A, Rhodes S, Grieve R, Hildred A, Tayoubi M, Breitner R. First report : Video survey of the southern shaft of the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid. Annals du service des antiquites de l’Égypte. Tome 84. May 15h 2011. ISBN 13: 9789777041843. Page(s) 203-217.