Indoor Testing and Simulation Platform for Close-distance Visual Inspection of Complex Structures using Micro Quadrotor UAV

10 Apr 2019  ·  Shang Zhexiong, Shen Zhigang ·

In recent years, using drone, also known as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), in close-distance visual inspection has became an active area in many disciplines. However, many challenges still remain before we can achieve autonomous inspection, especially when inspecting complex structures... The complex civil structures, such as bridges, dams and wind turbines, are large-scale and geometrical complicated. It requires sophisticated path planning algorithms to achieve close-distance inspection and, at the same time, avoid collisions. In practice, directly deploying the path planning result on such structures is error prone, costly, and full of hazards. In this paper, rely on micro quadrotor UAV, the authors present an affordable experimental platform for testing drone-based path planning result. The platform allows the users to conduct many path planning experiments at any time without worrying expensive and time consuming outdoor test flying. This platform is developed based on the bundle of Crazyflie, which includes Crazyflie 2.0 quadrotor, Crazyradio and loco positioning system (LPS). Equipped with an onboard micro FPV camera, the visual data can be lively streamed to the host computer during flight. The functions of manual configuration and waypoints control are explicitly designed in this platform to increase its flexibility and performance on path following and debugging. To evaluate the practicability of the proposed test platform, two existing drone-based path planning algorithms are tested. The results show that even though certain level of error existed, the quality of visual data and accuracy of path following are high enough for simulating most practical inspection applications. read more

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Robotics Systems and Control


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