Title page for ETD etd-11112008-121037

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kim, Jong-Hoon
Author's Email Address jkim24@lsu.edu
URN etd-11112008-121037
Title Design of a Fully Autonomous Mobile Pipeline Exploration Robot (FAMPER)
Degree Master of Science in Systems Science (M.S.S.S.)
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sitharama S. Iyengar Committee Chair
Ahmed A. El-Amawy Committee Member
Brygg Ullmer Committee Member
  • robostix
  • gumstix
  • wall pressed
  • caterpillar track
  • in-pipe inspection
Date of Defense 2008-10-31
Availability unrestricted
Pipelines have been an integral part of our constructions for many centuries. However,

need to be maintained, and the cost of maintenance continues to increase. Robots have been

considered as an attractive alternative, and many different types of pipeline robots have been

proposed in the past. Unfortunately many of them work under only very restricted environments

such as customized pipelines, often have no vertical mobility, or can traverse through only a

simple pipeline structure due to wired control.

This thesis presents the design and implementation of a robot based on novel idea we call

“caterpillar navigational mechanism”. A Fully Autonomous Mobile Pipeline Exploration Robot

(FAMPER), for exploring pipeline structures autonomously has been built and its performance

has been evaluated. We present the design of a robot based on wall-pressed caterpillar type for

not only horizontal, but also vertical mobility in pipeline elements such as straight pipelines,

elbows and branches, and its autonomous navigational system providing useful information for

pipeline maintenance.

FAMPER has been designed for 6 inch sewer pipes, which are predominantly used in

urban constructions. The proposed design enables FAMPER to display formidable mobility and

controllability in most of the existing structure of pipeline, and provides a spacious body for

housing various electronic devices. Specifically, FAMPER is equipped with several sensors, and

a high performance processor for autonomous navigation. We have performed experiments to

evaluate the effectiveness of our architecture and we present here a discussion of the performed


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