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Title: Automation and control architecture for hybrid pipeline robots
Author: Becci, Graciela Monica
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 2298
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2010
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The aim of this research project, towards the automation of the Hybrid Pipeline Robot (HPR), is the development of a control architecture and strategy, based on reconfiguration of the control strategy for speed-controlled pipeline operations and self-recovering action, while performing energy and time management. The HPR is a turbine powered pipeline device where the flow energy is converted to mechanical energy for traction of the crawler vehicle. Thus, the device is flow dependent, compromising the autonomy, and the range of tasks it can perform. The control strategy proposes pipeline operations supervised by a speed control, while optimizing the energy, solved as a multi-objective optimization problem. The states of robot cruising and self recovering, are controlled by solving a neuro-dynamic programming algorithm for energy and time optimization, The robust operation of the robot includes a self-recovering state either after completion of the mission, or as a result of failures leading to the loss of the robot inside the pipeline, and to guaranteeing the HPR autonomy and operations even under adverse pipeline conditions Two of the proposed models, system identification and tracking system, based on Artificial Neural Networks, have been simulated with trial data. Despite the satisfactory results, it is necessary to measure a full set of robot’s parameters for simulating the complete control strategy. To solve the problem, an instrumentation system, consisting on a set of probes and a signal conditioning board, was designed and developed, customized for the HPR’s mechanical and environmental constraints. As a result, the contribution of this research project to the Hybrid Pipeline Robot is to add the capabilities of energy management, for improving the vehicle autonomy, increasing the distances the device can travel inside the pipelines; the speed control for broadening the range of operations; and the self-recovery capability for improving the reliability of the device in pipeline operations, lowering the risk of potential loss of the robot inside the pipeline, causing the degradation of pipeline performance. All that means the pipeline robot can target new market sectors that before were prohibitive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available