Robots: Humans' Dependable Helpers

Research and Development in Robotic Systems

Inspection and Cleaning Robots for Sewer Systems: Damage Measuring System

© Fraunhofer IFF
© Fraunhofer IFF

Detailed Condition Monitoring of Sewers

The damage measuring system (SVM) monitors the detailed condition of the Emscher sewer system. In a defined position in the sewer line and non-vibrating, the damage measuring system and cleverly devised sensor systems take measurements with a hitherto unobtainable accuracy and classify damage precisely.

A camera module mounted on the front of the damage measuring system optically inspects the sewer system. A large number of cameras take pictures of the entire area of the sewer above the water line. Line lasers are employed to reference and classify the images from the different cameras.

A 3D ultrasonic scanner detects mechanical wear and underwater deposits while the damage measuring system travels through the sewer line.

When damage has been detected above the water line, a combination sensor performs a local underwater inspection. Pivoting on a telescopic unit, the sensor employs a "diving bell" patented by the Fraunhofer IFF and an ultrasonic echo measuring system to optically inspect the area below the water line for cracks. In addition, a patented temperature difference measuring system detects the infiltration of the slightest quantities of groundwater.

The measured data is used to fully reconstruct the inspected sewer line in 3D. The reconstruction is presented by newly developed software. Users may interactively navigate the data and take highly precise measurements of damage at any time. This is made possible by the continuous registration of the system’s position in the sewer line, intelligent processing of the camera images from above the water line and subsequent fusion of sensor data with ultrasonic data from above the water line. The system automatically notifies the user when cracks are suspected.