Leak Detection System For City Water Distribution Systems

Today’s cities lose 20-30% of its drinking water due to pipe leaks.  Many of these leaks are too small to be noticed from the street level, and result in a large volume of water that is unaccounted for.  Other times, they fail catastrophically and result in flooding and large water losses. In the Mechatronics Research Lab, we have created a robot that is capable of scanning pipe walls autonomously, reporting back estimates for where leaks are located within the pipe.

In addition to building this robot, we research how the pipe interior can be cleaned, and how existing leaks can be repaired without cutting access to the water supply.  In addition, we will investigate ways to instrument pipes so that they are able to detect when they are about to fail.

On a larger scale, we are interested in pipe networks, developing algorithms to monitor and operate pipe networks in the most efficient manner.  We also want to develop a way to recharge robots within the pipe so they can sustain themselves for long-term missions.