Pipelines play an important role in delivering fluids such as drinking water

Pipelines play an important role in delivering fluids such as drinking water, effluent water, oils, and gas. A lot of
troubles caused by piping networks aging, corrosion, cracks, and mechanical damages are possible which leads to a
loss of the transported medium and can also affect the environment. Hence continuous inspection, maintenance, and
cleaning are strongly demanded. Application of robots seems to be the most feasible solutions. Robots are designed
to reduce human factor and also to act in the inaccessible environment. Robots can be remotely controlled to carry
out most of the inspection and even sometimes maintenance operations 1-3.
Most of the previous research work have employed conventional robots such as electric motors, pneumatic
actuator etc. Kurata et al. 1 developed a prototype inspired by the motion of spirochetes, driven by motors and
pulleys. It does not damage the inner wall since it does not drag its body but may get jammed in the pipe if
mechanism doesn’t work properly. Osuka et al. 2 developed a pipe inspection robot, SPRING that can pass freely
through gas pipes. Experimental results revealed a problem that the robot stops after rapid deceleration when
approaching a valve in the piping segment. Kim et al. 3 proposed an active pipe inspection robot with the wallpressing
force adjustment using DC motor. It consists of a driving module having three pantograph-type links
spaced at 120° with three caterpillar track wheels and a control module comprising of microcontroller, motor driver
and sensor interface. It has the disadvantage of slipping. Also, high friction may damage the inner surface of the
pipe. Yoon et al. 4 developed a prototype of pipe inspection robot actuated by using compressed air. This
prototype can operate both on a plane and in liquid but difficult in bending pipes. Fjerdingen et al. 5 proposed a
robot with articulated transport mechanism consisting of series of identical modules interconnected by two rotational
joints on both sides of the modules. Wheels at each module give forward and backward propulsion. It is energy
efficient with the disadvantage of wheel getting stuck if there is a hole in the pipe. Suzomori et. al 6 have
developed a micro pipe inspection robot for 1 inch pipelines that offers good mobility and has functionality suitable
for practical use. The prototype carries a camera which provides resolution for micro cracks in internal surface of
pipe and has a dual-hand system with six degree of freedom for manipulating and recovering small objects.

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