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Vertical Pipe Inspection Using Swarm of Independent Robots

[+] Author Affiliations
Daniela Pellizzari, Alejandro Ramirez-Serrano

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

Giovanni C. Pettinaro

Università della Svizzera Italiana, Canton Ticino, Switzerland

Paper No. IPC2004-0682, pp. 1087-1094; 8 pages
doi:10.1115/IPC2004-0682
From:
  • 2004 International Pipeline Conference
  • 2004 International Pipeline Conference, Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, October 4–8, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: International Petroleum Technology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4176-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-3737-8
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME

abstract

The work reported here describes a solution to the problem of inside vertical pipe inspection using a swarm of independent mobile robots. The proposed solution assumes the pipe diameter to be known, however, it does not make any further assumptions concerning the height to be climbed/inspected or the material and characteristics of the pipe. The robots considered are fully independent/intelligent/autonomous units and are able to connect to each other firmly as needed so as to form diverse rigid configuration structures (swarms). By exploiting the rigidity of such connections, the robots composing a swarm climb the inner vertical walls of a pipe simply by exerting together a force towards the pipe walls and by jointly moving forward at the same speed (as a team). During the joint motion, the robots are able to monitor their peers as well as the integrity of the surface by using a small CCD camera mounted on top of each robot. If one of them detects an unusual condition, it lits up and continues its motion waiting for all the other to acknowledge the situation by litting up them-selves. When this happens, they all jointly stop preventing in this way a sudden break of the force exerted on the walls and a consequent collapse of the swarm structure. In this way diverse pipe configurations can be effectively inspected.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: Inspection , Robots , Pipes

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