NEC developed a self-advancing robot to diagnose such defects as crack and falling inside sewerage pipes. It automatically analyzes videos it shoots with the mounted camera and pinpoints the part likely to cause an accident like falling. Developed by NEC in alliance with Japan Sewage Works Agency, it will be usedfor the inspection of the inner part of sewerage pipes less than 80 cm in diameter. NEC applied the know-how it accumulated in pattern recognition for face and fingerprint authentification to the development of this robot.
The newly-developed robot can collect image data of a pipe line of 1 km in six hours, while the existing method that inserts a camera inside a sewage pipe can get image data up to 300 m in six hours. Japan has a total of 440,000 km of sewerage pipes, more than 20% of which are rather obsolete and supposed to have a risk of falling. The new robot will be provided to a half-year experiment toward this autumn. After the experiment, it will be put into practical use.
A self-advancing inspection robot