The primary objective of this project is a robotic self-propelled autonomous and battery-driven pipeline multi-sensory scanner called ROMUS, which can inspect pipelines and its immediate surroundings for defects and faults. The core challenge of inspecting pipes is the limited access to the inner pipes. Additionally, the pipes may be either filled with water or air which require a different set of sensors. We will develop a multimodal combination of a high-resolution ultra-wideband impulse radio (UWB-IR) radar and ultrasonic transducers (UT) that provides full circumferential (360°) see-through capabilities from inside pipes filled with either air or water. The high-volume data achieved will be analysed by advanced signal processing and visualization algorithms in combination with machine learning algorithms providing not only visualization of the pipes, but also identify internal fatigue on the lattice structure and detect different types of deficiencies with precise geographical position. The service of pipeline inspection for industries such as water & wastewater and hydropower is called upon in relation to both construction and maintenance of pipelines. Hence, the market potential for a pipeline scanner such as ROMUS is closely related to the construction and maintenance market for these industries. A report published in 2017 by Norwegian Water BA estimates the municipal investment needs in water & wastewater infrastructure till 2040 to be approximately NOK 280 billion in Norway alone, whereby NOK 183 billion, or about NOK 7.3 billion per year, are in renewal of water & wastewater pipelines. Substantial revenue and profit can be made by selling the robot product and data services to pipeline owners, contractors, and inspectors worldwide, both governmental and private.
Project leader: Stig Støa
Institution: EQUANOSTIC AS