January 2022, Vol. 249, No. 1

Tech Notes

University of Houston’s Falcon In-Pipeline Leak Solution

A breakthrough in leak risk detection at oil pipe flanges comes from research by the University of Houston using a Saab Seaeye Falcon robot as a development platform.   Called SmartTouch, the solution involves integrating robotic manipulator controls into the Falcon that provide multiple stress wave sensors for touch-based inspection of bolted joints, along with the latest structural health monitoring and inspection technologies. Video cameras and scanning sonars are also integrated into the system.   Finding a time- and cost-effective robotic solution to identify flanges at risk was the university’s key objective because bolted flanges can loosen when ocean dynam

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