Development of an Autonomous Robotic System for the Inspection of Pipelines


Kamal Youcef-Toumi, MechE, MIT; Mohamed Zribi, EE, Kuwait University
Leakage is the major factor for unaccounted losses in every pipe network around the world (oil, gas, water). In most cases the deleterious effects associated with the occurrence of leaks may present serious economical and health problems. Therefore, leaks must be quickly detected, located and repaired. Nevertheless, most state of the art leak detection techniques have limited applicability and are neither reliable nor robust; while other techniques depend on the experience of the operator. The proposed work deals with the design and development of a new leak detection sensor and instrumentation, suitable for liquid & natural gas pipeline inspection in harsh environments. The developed system will be more reliable, robust and power efficient than existing systems. In addition, most of the existing in-­‐pipe  detection platforms are not suitable for complicated pipeline configurations and unpiggable pipelines. Thus, we plan to develop a maneuverable robotic platform for leak detection in complicated pipeline configurations. The final integrated system, while being  completely  autonomous,  will  be  capable  of  robust  leak detection  and  active  maneuvering  in  harsh unpiggable pipelines for liquid and/or gas applications.