Algorithms descend into sewers to improve inspections

The P.I.G. is lifted into a sewer for an inspection. Credit: Leiden University

They never cross our minds until they become damaged and then they’re a huge problem: our sewers. Their maintenance could be much faster and more accurate, Ph.D. candidate Dirk Meijer has discovered. Algorithms are also proving to be a godsend deep underground.

Sewer inspections are usually done by specialized companies. A small electric car (P.I.G.) on which a camera is mounted is sent into the sewer. An inspector then assesses whether cracks, leaks or other problems can be seen. And that, according …
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