Project website: http://www.inspectierobot.nl

This project aims to design an energy efficient robot system, capable of autonomous inspection of the low-pressure gas distribution network. Also sensors for inspection and navigation inside the pipe are being developed.


In the Netherlands the majority of the low-pressure gas distribution network (100.000 km) is currently only inspected above ground by ‘sniffing’ methods. For the high-pressure distribution mains passive data loggers or pipe inspection gauges (PIGs) can be used for internal inspection. These systems have however no autonomous functionality and lack systems for navigation. The low-pressure net is ‘non-piggable’ due to the small diameters present and large number of bends, T-joints etc. However, to ensure safe distribution, the entire net has to be checked for leaks every 5 years.

The non-piggable low pressure net occupies most of the urban area and it has the highest risks for public health and safety. Moreover, since the replacement of pipelines in an urban area is very expensive, it is important to have accurate data on the state of the pipes and precise information on the locations of leaks and damaged sections.


The project is carried out at the LEO centre for service robotics. A consortium consisting of KIWA and Duch network operators (Cogas, Enexis, Liander and Endinet) has teamed up to facilitate the development. Industrialisation has been researched by ALSTOM Inspection Robotics.

Project lead

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prof.dr.ir. Stefano Stramigioli


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dr.ir. Edwin Dertien