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Prof. Dr. S. Decker
RWTH Aachen
Informatik 5
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D-52056 Aachen
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Exploring Unknown Environments - Finding Pollution in Underground Pipes

Thesis type
  • Master
Status Open

There are many underground pipes in use, most commonly to transport household or commercial water and sewage, but also for the transportation of resources like oil and gas. These pipes are made to last a long time, but problems do occur and when they happen they are very problematic. A typical problem are holes in the pipe itself, these causes either leakage of the tubes content into the environment, entrance of foreign substances into the pipe, or both.  A main issue is finding out where in the pipe the problems originates from, such that one knows were to dig to replace the parts. Preferably, one would know about all problematic areas of the pipe at once, such that the interruption of the flow is only needed for a limited time.


The task of this thesis is to work on knowledge representation models to help finding pollution sources in the pipe. The system is given a description of the pipe and there are robots which can investigate it. This investigation happens in multiple iterations and after each iteration more knowledge is collected about the state of the pipe. What the system investigated in this thesis needs to do is accumulate the collected information (such as robot location, temperature and pollution sensing) into a knowledge base. Then, you need to identify which parts of the pipe need to be investigated further  to find the location of the sources of the pollution. These areas would be the ones about which there is rather little knowledge or where there is an indication that there would be pollution, but with a low certainty.

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