Testing the Control Architecture of a Micro-Aerial Vehicle for Visual Inspection of Vessels

Authors Francisco Bonnín Pascual | Alberto Ortiz Rodriguez | Emilio García Fidalgo | Joan Pep Company Corcoles
In Iberian Robotics Conference (ROBOT), 2017.


Vessels constitute one of the most cost effective ways of transporting goods around the world. Despite the efforts, maritime accidents still occur, with catastrophic consequences. For this reason, vessels are submitted to periodical inspections for the early detection of cracks and corrosion. These inspections are nowadays carried out at a great cost. In order to contribute to make ship inspections safer and more cost-efficiently, this paper presents a novel Micro-Aerial Vehicle devised as a flying camera that can virtually teleport the human surveyor through the different structures of the vessel hull. The control software has been designed following the Supervised Autonomy paradigm, so that it is in charge of safety related issues such as collision avoidance, while the surveyor, within the main control loop, is supposed to supply displacement commands while he/she is concentrated on the inspection at hand. The paper provides an extensive evaluation of the platform capabilities and usability, both under laboratory conditions and onboard a real vessel, during an inspection campaign.

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