Sensor Networks
Borescopes Accelerate Automotive Research and Development
Source: Evident
Modern borescopes, also called a videoscope as it uses an image sensor, are driving efficiency and improving research in the automotive industry.

One example is at the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), where engineers are using specialized borescope equipment from Olympus to perform visual inspections of internal combustion engines (ICEs) and other powertrain subsystems as part of their research and testing projects.

Dr. Andrew Lewis, IAAPS principal engineer, and Dr. Karl Giles, IAAPS senior engineer, recently met with me to discuss the key benefits and importance of using borescopes in automotive engine research and development. Check out our conversation below:

Q: Tell us about the partnership between IAAPS and Olympus (now EVIDENT). Andrew Lewis: It initially started as a regular supplier/customer relationship. We had another version of this type of visual equipment from a different company, which was a lot more basic and was giving us very poor images. One of our automotive clients recommended Olympus, and we have been using their borescope since November 2020.

We have been working closely with Bayard and the team at Olympus to learn the proper application of the system and how to get the best results out of this type of inspection for the research and testing that we conduct. From Olympus' perspective, it is useful to see how a research facility like IAAPS is using their borescope in small, confined spaces such as the combustion chambers of passenger car engines, and it has been a very fruitful partnership so far.

Q: How is borescope inspection utilized within IAAPS and its research projects? Andrew Lewis: A borescope is a remote optical device designed to assist the visual inspection of tight, difficult-to-reach cavities. It consists of a narrow, flexible probe with an articulating head at one end that houses the lens and image sensor, and a remote control for controlling the position of the articulating head at the other. It is a very capable piece of equipment, and the user has the option to fit a range of forward or side-facing lenses, depending on the requirements of the inspection being carried out.

Our device is 4 mm in diameter, so we can get into the really hard-to-reach places within an engine. The nature of our work means that we are often pushing the boundaries of what the engine can do, so itís not uncommon for things to break or wear faster than normal. The Olympus borescope allows us to observe what is going on inside an engine and detect any damage or wear before a catastrophic failure occurs.

Karl Giles: We predominantly use it for routine inspection of internal combustion engines. Using a borescope for this purpose is pretty standard practice, however itís rare for engines outside of power generation and aviation to be inspected this way. The engines we work on are tiny in comparison to those used in power generation, which makes it much harder to get the shots youíre after because youíre working in much more confined spaces.

Besides petrol and diesel combustion chambers, weíve also used the borescope to inspect turbochargers, diesel after-treatment systems, and the sump and heating elements of our new single cylinder rig. Basically, anywhere thatís hard to reach without significant disassembly!

Read the full blog at

Mistras Group