Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Scalable and Modular robotic tools for pipeline inspection and repair

Project description

Robotic platforms for water leaks detection

Leaks in the European water network distribution are responsible for 20 % of drinking water waste. However, manual inspections and repairs are not enough, and technology-based solutions for measurement accuracy and leak localisation also have significant limitations. The EU-funded TUBERS project will create the world’s first combination of robotic platforms allowing around-the-clock inspection and targeted in-situ repairs. The system will significantly reduce regular inspection and maintenance costs. It comprises a snake-like resident robot for long-distance operations overleaping pipeline-junctions to navigate the network, a modular soft-robotic platform for inspections and repairs of pipe segments, a high-accuracy inspection system to detect leaks and measure corrosion, and Explainable Machine Learning algorithms-powered Decision Support System.


The European water network distribution is plagued by leaks that cause a staggering 20% of drinking water to go wasted. This is an environmental disaster given that water and sanitation sector is currently estimated to contribute up to 5% of global GHG emissions. Water utilities are struggling with this problem however the deadalic nature of water networks make manual inspections and repairs completely non-viable. Technology-based solutions have significant limitations in terms of measurement accuracy and leak localisation. Most importantly they do not encompass repair.
TUBERS sets forth a new paradigm by creating the world’s first combination robotic platforms allowing for 24/7 inspection and targeted in-situ repairs, greatly reducing the costs of regular inspection and maintenance.
The system will comprise: (a) A snake-like resident robot which can operate over long distances and negotiate pipeline-junctions to navigate large parts of the water network, (2) A modular soft-robotic platform capable of moving using an “inchworm” movement technique, for inspections and repairs of pipe segments featuring a novel repair deployment mechanism (3) A High-accuracy inspection system that can detect leaks and, most importantly, measure corrosion based on coded excitation, an advanced technique that greatly improves Signal-to-Noise ratio, (4) A Decision Support System powered by Explainable Machine Learning algorithms incorporating a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis framework for holistic planning of inspection and maintenance.
The TUBERS solution will be validated in real water network pipelines operated by 3 of the most prominent water utility companies in the Netherlands.
Once it reaches the market, our solution is poised to revolutionise inspection and repair of drinking water networks, providing the operators with powerful tools to eliminate waste, facilitating savings of an estimated 158GWh of energy and reduction of 79.000 tonnes of CO2 emissions within a 5-year period.


Net EU contribution
€ 601 517,50
15232 Chalandri

See on map

Αττική Aττική Βόρειος Τομέας Αθηνών
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 601 517,50

Participants (8)

Partners (1)