Pipebots – Route to proactive Utility Asset Management using swarms of Robots
Pipebots aims to revolutionise buried pipe infrastructure management with the development of micro-robots designed to work in underground pipe networks and dangerous sites. This will lead to proactive asset management and has the potential to reduce trench excavations to maintain our buried assets by accurate location of the defects and targeted in-pipe repairs. The presentation will highlight the vision of the project and give a short overview of the project focussing on technical advances and challenges. Moreover, it will focus on the wider systems thinking and engagement to realise the vision.
- Professors Nicole Metje, Kirill Horoshenkov and Chris Rogers
- Nicole Metje Bio – Nicole Metje is Professor of Infrastructure Monitoring in the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham and Director for Sensors of the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities. Her main research focusses on mapping and assessing the condition of buried utilities through smart sensors and surface geophysics including quantum technology gravity sensors, but with a broad interest in infrastructure monitoring in general.
- Chris Rogers Bio – Chris Rogers, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, leads a research portfolio focussing on infrastructure engineering and future cities. He led the Mapping the Underworld and Assessing the Underworld programmes, respectively researching remote location and mapping of pipelines and cables buried beneath the streets and assessing the condition of road structures, the buried infrastructure, and the ground that supports them both. He is currently researching robotics for roads and green infrastructure monitoring and repair (Self-Repairing Cities) and buried pipeline condition assessment using swarms of miniature robots (Pipebots, or Pervasive Sensing of Buried Pipes). In iBUILD, he researched alternative business models accounting for infrastructure interdependencies. His future cities portfolio includes Birmingham Eastside (sustainability), Urban Futures (resilience), Liveable Cities (liveability) and Urban Living Birmingham (urban diagnostics). He is Director of Research Integration for the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), Director of UKCRIC’s £27.6m National Buried Infrastructure Facility at the University of Birmingham, and leads UKCRIC-PLEXUS, a pump-priming grant that links the eleven UKCRIC Laboratory Facilities. He was the academic lead of the University of Birmingham Policy Commission of Future Urban Living and a member of the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government Foresight Future of Cities project, and he chaired the Institution of Civil Engineers Research, Development & Innovation towards Engineering Excellence Panel from 2010-2021.
- Kirill Horoshenkov Bio – Kirill Horoshenkov (FREng) is Professor of Acoustics at the University of Sheffield. His research interests are in acoustic sensing, robotics and porous media. He leads the EPSRC UK Acoustics Network with over 1200 members (www.acoustics.ac.uk). He also leads the EPSRC Programme Grant (www.pipebots.ac.uk, Pervasive Sensing of Buried Pipes). He is Fellow of the UK Institute of Acoustics and Acoustical Society of America (ASA). He is also a coordinating editor for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. He is a founder of two successful spin-off companies which commercialised his research into acoustics sensing for sewer pipes (SewerBatt device, http://acousticsensing.co.uk) and sustainable noise absorbing materials (now marketed as ArmaSound, https://local.armacell.com/en/armacell-uk/products/armasound-rd-240). He is a chartered engineer.