Robotic pipeline inspection system

William Leary, Robert Torbin, George Vradis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Much of the existing natural gas infrastructure was designed and built without pigging as an operational consideration. There are many physical obstacles in pipelines that make the passage of SMART pigs impossible. The most intractable obstacles include elbows with tight bend radius, partially ported valves. The inspection of unpiggable pipelines requires the innovative marriage of a highly agile robotic platform with NDE sensor technologies operating together as a semi-autonomous system. A research effort to develop such a system was presented. The pipeline inspection robot is essentially a battery powered, train-like platform. The on-board intelligence gives the platform the benefit of an engineer steering the train through the complex pipe geometry. The system requires a very simple launch and retrieval station that is significantly less expensive to deploy than conventional SMART pigs. Based on existing robot and sensor technologies from Foster-Miller and GE Oil and Gas/PII Pipeline Solutions, the project has completed a state of the art review, an assessment of alternative design approaches, and an initial concept development and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2004
EventProceedings - Natural Gas Technologies II: Ingenuity and Innovation - Phoenix, AZ, United States
Duration: Feb 8 2004Feb 11 2004


OtherProceedings - Natural Gas Technologies II: Ingenuity and Innovation
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhoenix, AZ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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