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Open AccessArticle

A Collaborative Approach for Surface Inspection Using Aerial Robots and Computer Vision

Department of Artificial Intelligence, Technical University of Madrid, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid 28660, Spain
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Sensors 2018, 18(3), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030893
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 17 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Spain 2017)
Aerial robots with cameras on board can be used in surface inspection to observe areas that are difficult to reach by other means. In this type of problem, it is desirable for aerial robots to have a high degree of autonomy. A way to provide more autonomy would be to use computer vision techniques to automatically detect anomalies on the surface. However, the performance of automated visual recognition methods is limited in uncontrolled environments, so that in practice it is not possible to perform a fully automatic inspection. This paper presents a solution for visual inspection that increases the degree of autonomy of aerial robots following a semi-automatic approach. The solution is based on human-robot collaboration in which the operator delegates tasks to the drone for exploration and visual recognition and the drone requests assistance in the presence of uncertainty. We validate this proposal with the development of an experimental robotic system using the software framework Aerostack. The paper describes technical challenges that we had to solve to develop such a system and the impact on this solution on the degree of autonomy to detect anomalies on the surface. View Full-Text
Keywords: Automated visual inspection; human-robot collaboration; surface inspection; aerial robotics Automated visual inspection; human-robot collaboration; surface inspection; aerial robotics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Molina, M.; Frau, P.; Maravall, D. A Collaborative Approach for Surface Inspection Using Aerial Robots and Computer Vision. Sensors 2018, 18, 893.

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