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SmartCrawler: An In-pipe Robotic System with Novel Low-frequency Wireless Communication Setup in Water Distribution Systems

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posted on 14.01.2021, 10:00 by Saber Kazeminasab, M.Katherine Banks
Water Distribution Systems (WDS) are critical infrastructures that deliver potable water to residential areas. Water quality monitoring is one of the requirements for utility managers to ensure the health of the water. However, it is challenging to access all parts of the WDS since they are long and comprise different configurations. In this paper, we propose a size-adaptable in-pipe robot so-called “SmartCrawler”. We develop two-phase control algorithm that enables reliable motion in different configurations of pipelines. The controller in phase 1 stabilizes the robot in the straight paths and tracks the desired velocity with high-level linear quadratic regulator (LQR) and low-level proportional-integral-derivative (PID) based controllers. The controller in phase 2 enables the robot to have reliable change of direction in the non-straight paths. The performance of the two-phase controller is evaluated with experimental and simulation results. Wireless underground communication is a challenging task for underground applications. To facilitate wireless communication, we propose an active radio frequency identification (RFID) based communication working in 434MHz carrier frequency and evaluate its performance with experimental results. At the end of this work, we design the printed circuit board (PCB) for the SmartCrawler. The simulation and the experimental results prove the proposed robotic system can be used for in-pipe missions where wireless communication is needed to communicate with the robot during operation.


Email Address of Submitting Author

Submitting Author's Institution

Texas A&M University

Submitting Author's Country

United States of America