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FAMPER: A Fully Autonomous Mobile Robot for Pipeline Exploration

Jong-Hoon Kim, Gokarna Sharma, and S. Sitharama Iyengar Department of Computer Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803 USA Email: jkim24@lsu.edu, {gokarna, iyengar}@csc.lsu.edu


Abstract—Pipeline-based applications have become an integral part of life. However, knowing that the pipeline systems can be largely deployed in an inaccessible and hazardous environment, active monitoring and frequent inspection of the pipeline systems are highly expensive using the traditional maintenance systems. Robot agents have been considered as an attractive alternative. Althoughmanydifferenttypesofpipelineexplorationrobotshave been proposed, they were suffered from various limitations. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of a singlemoduled fully autonomous mobile pipeline exploration robot, called FAMPER, that can be used for the inspection of 150mm pipelines. This robot consists of four wall-press caterpillars operated by two DC motors each. The speed of each caterpillar is controlled independently to provide steering capability to go through 45 degree elbows, 90 degree elbows, T-branches, and Ybranches.Theuniquenessofthispaperistoshowtheopportunity of using 4 caterpillar configuration for superior performance in all types of complex networks of pipelines. The robot system has been developed and experimented in different pipeline layouts.