Conference Paper

Aircraft inspection using unmanned aerial vehicles

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... Our work presented in [3], [4] proposed a CPP algorithm that targets coverage, distance and accuracy using a single sensor, and it was tested in simulation using one model. Due to the size, geometric complexity, and the application significance (inspection) of various complex structures, a Search Space Coverage Path Planning (SSCPP) algorithm that explicitly targets the coverage, and accuracy requirements is proposed here. ...
... Input : 3D structure model, grid resolution, angular resolution, sensors FOV and range limitations Output: waypoint trajectory, 3D reconstructed model, coverage percentage, model accuracy 1 Discretize workspace into a cubic grid with input grid resolution. 2 Discretize orientations at each grid with input angular resolution. 3 foreach sensor in sensors do 4 Preform transformation to generate the sensor viewpoints at each waypoints sample (position and angle) 5 Filter out the grid samples according to the sensor range limitations. 6 end 7 Perform path planning using the filtered set of viewpoints. ...
Chapter
The most critical process in the inspection is the structure coverage which is a time and resource intensive task. In this paper, Search Space Coverage Path Planning (SSCPP) algorithm for inspecting complex structure using a vehicular system consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is proposed. The proposed algorithm exploits our knowledge of the structure model, and the UAV’s onboard sensors to generate coverage paths that maximizes coverage and accuracy. The algorithm supports the integration of multiple sensors to increase the coverage at each viewpoint and reduce the mission time. A weighted heuristic reward function is developed in the algorithm to target coverage, accuracy, travelled distance and turning angle at each viewpoint. The iterative processes of the proposed algorithm were accelerated exploiting the parallel architecture of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). A set of experiments using models of different shapes were conducted in simulated and real environments. The simulation and experimental results show the validity and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.
... Notice that inspecting large complex structures, is chiefly important in cases that require maintenance, fault traceability, anomalies, defects detection Table 15 Cross-cutting issues to the conventional means for condition monitoring and to the assessment of existing structures in general (adapted based on: [1-5,17,22,27,119,160-163]) and model digitizing [160]. For instance, as a tool for bridge condition inspections, drones can offer considerable potential, allowing a bridge to be visually assessed without the need for inspectors to walk across the deck or utilise under-bridge inspection units. ...
Article
Purpose This paper presents a reflection on the effectiveness of using drones in the technical inspection of building facades, as a practical alternative to more expensive and heavier conventional means. In order to verify this assumption qualitatively, a number of field tests are presented and discussed. Design/methodology/approach The first stage consisted of a literature review. The analysis initially investigated drone technology. Then, an insight into some general applications in Civil Engineering was compiled, focusing in particular on the Construction Industry (CI), as well as the scope of building envelope inspections. In the second stage, field tests with drones were performed and the resulting data was appraised in order to get facade pathologies diagnosis as accurate as possible. Findings Through this study, the adaptability and versatility of using drones were checked. Thus, it has been confirmed that drone technology is an effective and promising alternative methodology to support technical inspection and diagnosis of building envelope pathologies. In fact, drones seem to be a worthwhile tool for supporting certain Civil Engineering activities–particularly when displaying a multirotor configuration, loading high-definition (HD) cameras, for both stills photography and video. Research limitations/implications As the main goal of this approach was simply a qualitative assessment of evidence on the advantages of using drones compared with conventional means, other kinds of comparative analysis were not discussed in depth. However, this and other potential restrictive issues may represent an opportunity to push more developments. A deeper knowledge of data handling and clear procedures for the use of drones could be very valuable for the CI and for building envelope inspections. Practical implications In investigating this subject, this research can offer valuable input to enable a greater awareness of the use of drones in the technical inspection of buildings, particularly in hard-to-reach locations, to the detriment of conventional means. In these circumstances, this methodology can bring great benefits, particularly from an environmental impact point of view, since the resources used are much lower. In addition, a very reliable diagnosis can be achieved more quickly, and at a much lower cost. Originality/value The introduction of a standard for drone inspection practice is still at an early stage, with initial steps being taken in an apparently well-focused effort to achieve consolidation. Research studies of this kind may have an important role to play in drawing the stakeholders' attention to the benefits of using this technique, particularly for those working in the building usage phase.
... Notice that inspecting large complex structures, is chiefly important in cases that require maintenance, fault traceability, anomalies, defects detection Table 15 Cross-cutting issues to the conventional means for condition monitoring and to the assessment of existing structures in general (adapted based on: [1-5,17,22,27,119,160-163]) and model digitizing [160]. For instance, as a tool for bridge condition inspections, drones can offer considerable potential, allowing a bridge to be visually assessed without the need for inspectors to walk across the deck or utilise under-bridge inspection units. ...
Book
This book presents a study on the effectiveness of using drones in the technical inspection of building envelope, as an excellent alternative to more expensive and heavier conventional means. A comprehensive literature review is firstly focused on the drone technology, analysing afterwards the applications in the Construction Industry (CI), with emphasis in the scope of building envelope inspections. Field tests with drones were also performed and the resulting data was treated in order to obtain a facade pathologies diagnosis with a highest degree of accuracy. It has been checked that the use of drones is effectively a promising alternative methodology to support the technical inspection and diagnosis of building envelope pathologies, particularly when displaying a multirotor configuration, loading high-definition (HD) cameras, for both stills photography and video. This view can offer valuable input to enable a greater awareness of the use of drones, particularly in hard-to-reach locations, to the detriment of conventional means. This methodology can bring great benefits, particularly from an environmental impact point of view, since the resources used are much lower. Furthermore, a very reliable diagnosis can be achievable more quickly, and at a much lower cost.
... Collecting top views of the aircraft will allow us to define a safe inspection trajectory, and to perform fully automatic inspection flights around the structure of the craft. Work is currently underway in defining algorithms for generating optimal paths that maximize the coverage of the aircraft structure [46]. Different path-planning algorithms will be tested, and the most promising, from preliminary studies, seems to be the Rapidly-exploring Random Tree (RRT) methodology [47]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Among non-destructive inspection (NDI) techniques, General Visual Inspection (GVI), global or zonal, is the most widely used, being quick and relatively less expensive. In the aeronautic industry, GVI is a basic procedure for monitoring aircraft performance and ensuring safety and serviceability, and over 80% of the inspections on large transport category aircrafts are based on visual testing, both directly and remotely, either unaided or aided via mirrors, lenses, endoscopes or optic fiber devices coupled to cameras. This paper develops the idea of a global and/or zonal GVI procedure implemented by means of an autonomous unmanned aircraft system (UAS), equipped with a low-cost, high-definition (HD) camera for carrying out damage detection of panels, and a series of distance and trajectory sensors for obstacle avoidance and inspection path planning. An ultrasonic distance keeper system (UDKS), useful to guarantee a fixed distance between the UAS and the aircraft, was developed, and several ultrasonic sensors (HC-SR-04) together with an HD camera and a microcontroller were installed on the selected platform, a small commercial quad-rotor (micro-UAV). The overall system concept design and some laboratory experimental tests are presented to show the effectiveness of entrusting aircraft inspection procedures to a small UAS and a PC-based ground station for data collection and processing.
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