It effortlessly overcomes the small 'ditches' at opened valves. How does that work? Iwan de Waard: "The principle of the Snakebot is two triangles with three wheels at the corners. The corners of the triangle are adjustable, so the height of the robot varies. This allows the robot to clamp itself onto the pipe wall. In turn, the front and rear triangle are clamped and this way you get movement". SLIPPING The other project partner in the development of the Snakebot was the University of Twente. PhD student Nicolò Botteghi focused on managing project there. The most important requirement was the taking of bends and dealing with all kinds of unexpected situations. Nicolò: "As a university we were involved in this project for the software, that controls the localisation and navigation of the Snakebot. We were able to do tests and simulations with our own little Snakebot, the 'Pirate'. This robot has a slightly different mechanics, but it did help us to detect bottlenecks. 24 An example: the Snakebot crawls through a pipe and encounters a residue of oil. This causes the wheels to slip and this is registered by the software as distance covered. This leads to erroneous localisation." ADD INTELLIGENCE "In that context, we must add intelligence, so that the robot knows: My wheels slipped but I am still in the same place. Localisation is everything in this type of inspection project. Calculating such unpredictable environmental factors is a challenge, and so is the limited space available for sensors. It all has to be very small, so you can collect limited information. Visual information with cameras is also not possible. Still, you have to manoeuvre accurately through that narrow pipe. So, doing a lot with little input.” RECOVERY Iwan de Waard continues: "It is a complex whole, which we have really gotten our teeth into, because we have a good grasp of what is wanted in practice. That is why we scaled up the Snakebot in the Smart Tooling project.

27 Online Touch Home

You need flash player to view this online publication