Towards Autonomous Pipeline Inspection with Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning

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Inspection and maintenance are two crucial aspects of industrial pipeline plants. While robotics has made tremendous progress in the mechanic design of in-pipe inspection robots, the autonomous control of such robots is still a big open challenge due to the high number of actuators and the complex manoeuvres required. To address this problem, we investigate the usage of Deep Reinforcement Learning for achieving autonomous navigation of in-pipe robots in pipeline networks with complex topologies. Moreover, we introduce a hierarchical policy decomposition based on Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning to learn robust high-level navigation skills. We show that the hierarchical structure introduced in the policy is fundamental for solving the navigation task through pipes and necessary for achieving navigation performances superior to human-level control.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021


  • cs.RO
  • cs.AI


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