This project aimed at the development of advanced robotic tools and techniques for the inspection of critical infrastructures. The cost involved in the construction and maintenance of critical infrastructures (CIs) like bridges, dams, overhead power lines, and industrial chimneys, the consequences of their failure or malfunction, do completely justify the existence of a periodic monitoring programme which helps in the risk evaluation and decision making process relative to the timing of the maintenance, or even repair, works.

A Helicopter for the inspection of CIs was developed and its capabilities fully demonstrated in realistic operational scenarios. The project brings together a multidisciplinary team with well proven expertise in a wide range of key areas that range from the inspection of bridges and dams, using classical tools, aerial inspection of overhead power lines using video surveillance and laser based techniques on board manned helicopters, industrial chimney inspection resorting to infrared cameras, computer vision, robotics, advanced systems for navigation, guidance, and control (NGC), and payload data acquisition and processing.

The team consists of three companies (HAGEN, LABELEC, and BRISA), one university (Instituto Superior Técnico), one technological institute (Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade), a national laboratory (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil), and a prestigious research institute from France (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS, Sophia Antipolis). The team reflects the objective of maximizing the incorporation of national competences at all scientific and technological levels, and simultaneously integrating the know-how of one of the world leader institutes in the area of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles for the inspection of CIs.

There are three main research and development components in this project: aerial robotics, inspection of bridges and civil engineering infrastuctures in construction and exploration, and the inspection of energy production and transport infrastructures. The videos found below are a summary of these three components.

Project Partners: Hagen Engenharia, S.A. (PT), ISQ – Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade (PT), ISR/IST (PT), LABELEC, Electricidade de Portugal EDP (PT), LNEC – Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (PT)

Funding Institution: Agência de Investimento (AdI).

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Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics Laboratory