Towards Long-Distance Inspection for In-pipe Robots in Water Distribution Systems with Smart Navigation

by   Saber Kazeminasab, et al.

Incident in water distribution systems (WDS) cause water loss and water contamination that requires the utility managers to assess the condition of pipelines in a timely manner. However, pipelines are long and access to all parts of it is a chal-lenging task; current in-pipe robots have the limitations of short-distance inspection and inability to operate in-service networks. In this work, we improve the design of our previously developed in-pipe robot and analyze the effect of line pressure and relative velocity on the robot during operation with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. An extreme scenario for robot operation is defined and we estimate the minimum inspection distance for the robot with one turn of battery charge that is 5400m. A multi-phase motion controller is proposed that ensures reliable motion at straight and non-straight configurations of pipeline and also stabilized configuration with zero velocity at junctions. We also propose a localization and navigation method based on particle filtering and combine it with the proposed multi-phase motion controller. In this method, the map of the operation is provided to the robot and the robot localizes itself based on the map and the particle filtering method. Furthermore, the robot navigates different configurations of pipelines by switching between different phases of the motion controller algorithm that is performed by the particle filter algorithm. The experiment and simulation results show that the robot along with the navigation shows a promising solution towards long-distance inspection of pipelines by in-pipe robots.



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