Pipe inspection using a laser-based transducer and automated analysis techniques

Olga Duran, Kaspar Althoefer, Lakmal D. Seneviratne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new sensing methodology for the automated inspection of pipes. Standard inspection systems, as they are for example used in waste pipes and drains, are based on closed-circuit television cameras which are mounted on remotely controlled platforms and connected to remote video recording facilities. Two of the main disadvantages of such camera-based inspection systems are: 1) the poor quality of the acquired images due to difficult lighting conditions and 2) the susceptibility to error during the offline video assessment conducted by human operators. The objective of this research is to overcome these disadvantages and to create an intelligent sensing approach for improved and automated pipe-condition assessment. This approach makes use of a low-cost lighting profiler and a camera which acquires images of the light projections on the pipe wall. A novel method for extracting and analyzing intensity variations in the acquired images is introduced. The image data analysis is based on differential processing leading to highly-noise tolerant algorithms, particularly well suited for the detection of small faults in harsh environments. With the subsequent application of artificial neural networks, the system is capable of recognizing defective areas with a high success rate. Experiments in a range of waste pipes with different diameters and material properties have been conducted and test results are presented.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)401-409
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Artificial neural network (ANN)
  • Image processing
  • Intensity variations
  • Noise tolerance
  • Pipe inspection
  • Ring profiler
  • Sewer inspection
  • System integration


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