The robotic pipeline inspection method has been used for integrity assessment of natural gas and liquid product pipelines for more than a decade. While the operational advantages offered by this method may be more well-known and documented, there is comparatively a scarce amount of literature on the results acquired by a pipeline inspection robot including the quality of data and specific threats that can be addressed.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the capability of robotic pipeline inspection methods in addressing specific pipeline threats including surface corrosion, internal and external anomalies, deformations, construction features, as well as other pertinent pipeline features and characteristics. Results and specific examples of pipeline anomalies and features found by the Pipe Explorer robotic pipeline inspection method (that were subsequently excavated and validated) will be discussed. Finally, this paper will qualitatively compare the quality of data acquired by traditional free-swimming inline inspection tools and self-propelled robotic inline inspection tools.