Intelligent systems for automated inspection of steel infrastructure


Steel infrastructures are widely spread across a multitude of fields and applications. They play a critical role in our society, as they are typically used for energy transmission and telecommunication lines, steel bridges, offshore and industrial structures, as well as wind energy systems. The resilience of these structures depends on their ability to provide continuous functionality during operational conditions. This can be guaranteed by the robustness of employed inspection procedures. To date, these procedures usually require the installation of heavy equipment and come with a certain level of subjectivity, as no rigorous evaluation can be performed in certain cases. The conclusions drawn from an inspection sometimes have to rely on the expertise of the technician carrying it out, which does not guarantee a sufficient repeatability. 

With the overarching goal of minimizing downtime and managing risks of community-critical infrastructure, this research project proposes fundamental developments and methods using drones to acquire data about a steel structure in an autonomous and reliable way and therefore facilitate the unmanned inspection of steel infrastructures. This implies the development of navigation strategies for flying mobile robots for data acquisition, as well as the development of data-driven techniques that relate distorted geometries or overstressed regions of critical steel elements with their reserve capacity.

This project therefore relies on the collaboration of two laboratories with highly complementary research activities in mobile robotics and structural engineering, and aims at exploiting their respective expertise to build a coherent system for the reliable inspection of steel infrastructures.

General information


PechaKucha: ENAC Research Day 07.09.2023