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Sensors 2019, 19(8), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19081824

Inspection of Aircraft Wing Panels Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

1
Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems, Cranfield University, Cranfield MK43 0AL, UK
2
Centre for Structures, Assembly and Intelligent Automation, Cranfield MK43 0AL, UK
3
Airbus UK, Broughton CH4 0DR, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Malandrakis, K.; Savvaris, A.; Gonzalez, J.A.; Avdelidis, N.; Tsilivis, P.; Plumacker, F.; Fragonara, L.Z.; Tsourdos, A. Inspection of Aircraft Wing Panels Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In Proceedings of the 5th IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for Aerospace (MetroAerospace), Rome, Italy, 20–22 June 2018.
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Fusion in Non-Destructive Testing Applications)
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Abstract

In large civil aircraft manufacturing, a time-consuming post-production process is the non-destructive inspection of wing panels. This work aims to address this challenge and improve the defects’ detection by performing automated aerial inspection using a small off-the-shelf multirotor. The UAV is equipped with a wide field-of-view camera and an ultraviolet torch for implementing non-invasive imaging inspection. In particular, the UAV is programmed to perform the complete mission and stream video, in real-time, to the ground control station where the defects’ detection algorithm is executed. The proposed platform was mathematically modelled in MATLAB/SIMULINK in order to assess the behaviour of the system using a path following method during the aircraft wing inspection. In addition, two defect detection algorithms were implemented and tested on a dataset containing images obtained during inspection at Airbus facilities. The results show that for the current dataset the proposed methods can identify all the images containing defects. View Full-Text
Keywords: Non-Destructive Testing; ultraviolet light; automated inspection; defects detection; UAV; image processing Non-Destructive Testing; ultraviolet light; automated inspection; defects detection; UAV; image processing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Tzitzilonis, V.; Malandrakis, K.; Zanotti Fragonara, L.; Gonzalez Domingo, J.A.; Avdelidis, N.P.; Tsourdos, A.; Forster, K. Inspection of Aircraft Wing Panels Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Sensors 2019, 19, 1824.

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