This work presents the solutions adopted for the design and the implementation of an autonomous wheeled robot developed for the exploration and mapping of air ventilation ducts. The hardware is based on commercial off-the-shelf devices, including sensors, motors, processing devices and interfaces. The mechanical chassis was designed from scratch to meet a trade-off between small size and available volume to host the components. The software stack is based on the Robot Operating System (ROS). Special attention was dedicated to the design of the mobility strategy, which must take into account some constraints and issues that are specific to the considered application, such as the relatively small size of ducts, the need to detect and avoid possible holes on the floor of the duct and other unusual obstacles and the unavailability of external reference frameworks for localization. The main contribution of this paper lies in the design, implementation and experimentation of the overall system.
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