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TUBERS is a Horizon Europe project aiming to build a cutting-edge ecosystem of robotic platforms and tools, that addresses the pressing issue of maintenance of the water distribution pipeline system through 24/7 inspection, and targeted in-situ repairs.

European water network distribution suffers drinking water losses of up to 20% due to unknown or unattended leaks.  Recent reports support that the USA and the Middle East are also equally troubled by 30% water losses.  In conjunction with the wider impacts of water leakage, the potentially devastating environmental consequences of water contamination and underground pollution, make it imperative to consider the role that water-pipe materials and the age of pipes contribute to water leak issues.

Traditional methods for identification, inspection and repair of pipelines are based on records of past breaks, reported leaks and water quality complaints from customers.  Modern methods employ pipe inspection robots, but have certain limitations such as the operational range and the high cost of ownership, and these prevent them from attaining high-level inspection coverage.

Project TUBERS aspires to exceed existing conventional approaches by developing and integrating three key technologies, a snake-like resident robot, a modular, soft robotic platform and a Decision Support System, to drastically decrease water leakages while reducing the costs of regular inspection and maintenance.

TWI Hellas is responsible for establishing the mechanical, hardware and software architectures for TUBERS, developing a bespoke, ultrasonic inspection system, and formalising the open access protocols concerning datasets and code repositories.

Partners: Demcon Advanced Mechatronics, Alsymex, Bendabl, Brabant Water, Evides, Vitens, University of Essex and TWI Hellas.

TUBERS is funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe programme.