Robotic inspection of unpiggable natural gas transmission and distribution pipeline

Paul Laursen, Daphne D'Zurko, George Vradis, Craig Swiech

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The present paper presents the development effort and precommercial deployment of Explorer II - a semi-autonomous, self-powered, tetherless robotic platform, carrying a Remote Field Eddy Current (RFEC) sensor, for the inspection of unpiggable natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines in the 6 to 8 inch (152 to 203 mm) range, including those that feature multiple diameters, short radius and mitered bends, and tees. The system is based on a modular design that allows the system to be deployed in various configurations to carry out visual inspection and/or non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of a pipeline. The heart of this system is a RFEC sensor able to measure the pipeline's wall thickness. In addition, two fisheye cameras at each end of the robot provide high quality visual inspection capabilities for locating joints, tee-offs, and other pipeline features. The system can operate, including launching and retrieval, in live pipelines with pressures up to 750 psig (50 bars). The system is currently being offered for precommercial deployments and is expected to be commercially available in the Fall of 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 8th International Pipeline Conference, IPC2010
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2010
Event2010 8th International Pipeline Conference, IPC2010 - Calgary, AB, Canada
Duration: Sep 27 2010Oct 1 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Biennial International Pipeline Conference, IPC


Conference2010 8th International Pipeline Conference, IPC2010
CityCalgary, AB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Chemistry

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