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October 8, 2015

For Release: Immediately

Central Hudson Tests Innovative Pipeline Inspection Robot
Live test of new model a first in the nation

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation recently conducted the nation’s first live production run of the innovative Explorer 16/18 robot to inspect the inside of a natural gas transmission line. The robot is a larger version of a similar unit first tested by Central Hudson in 2012; this is the fourth time the innovative technology was deployed by Central Hudson. The test was performed in conjunction with NYSEARCH, the research and development sub-organization of the Northeast Gas Association, and Pipetel Technologies, a commercial service provider and manufacturer.

The 9-foot Explorer is a tether-less, self-propelled robot that uses battery power to operate under live pipeline conditions. Seven flexible segments allow it to make 90-degree turns and navigate nearly any obstacle. The robot uses two cameras, one at each end, which provide a 360-degree view of the inside of the pipe, and features three lasers and 96 sensors to collect data on pipe wall conditions. Explorer allows for the inspection of pipelines featuring short radius turns, valves with reduced openings or ports and other characteristics that may prevent the use of traditional in-line methods of inspection.

The robot was recently used to inspect a 3,000-foot section of a Central Hudson natural gas transmission line, a portion of which travels beneath a roadway, that would have been difficult and costly to assess using traditional external examination methods. The inspection took place over eight hours, and did not require an interruption in natural gas service.

The Explorer robot was developed by Pipetel with technical and monetary support from NYSEARCH, of which Central Hudson is an active participating member. NYSEARCH is a collaborative research, development and demonstration organization within the Northeast Gas Association.

“This technology dramatically improves our ability to inspect high pressure natural gas transmission lines,” said James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson. “Explorer provides data and information that helps shape our maintenance program, and ensures the reliability of our natural gas system by enhancing safety and improving the efficiency of pipeline inspections.” Since 2012, Central Hudson has been a national leader in testing this technology by inspecting more than 18,500 feet of natural gas transmission lines using Explorer robots.

“The Explorer is the best way to ensure the integrity and safety of the pipeline,” said George Vradis, of NYSEARCH who oversees the Explorer program. “Central Hudson has been an integral partner in developing the Explorer 16/18. We have come a long way since the first Explorer as our technology has vastly improved.”

Development of the Explorer robotic platforms and supporting technologies began in 2001, with a total investment of more than $30 million to date through NYSEARCH member companies, Invodane Engineering Ltd. - Pipetel, Operations Technology Development NFP and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The technology provides a tool to accurately inspect the pipelines, gaining information previously unattainable by existing methods used by gas utilities and pipeline owners.

For more information about the Explorer and its capabilities, and to view a video about the robot, visit

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Central Hudson Gas Pipe Explorer Robot

The Explorer robot (below) has the ability to safely and accurately inspect the inside of natural gas transmission lines under live conditions, and is an alternative to traditional methods that may not be suitable for certain pipelines. Central Hudson has been involved in the development and testing of this innovative technology, recently utilizing the robot to inspect a local natural gas transmission line (above).

central hudson explorer robot