Autonomous and scalable control for remote inspection with multiple aerial vehicles

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A novel approach to the autonomous generation of trajectories for multiple aerial vehicles is presented, whereby an artificial kinematic field provides autonomous control in a distributed and highly scalable manner. The kinematic field is generated relative to a central target and is modified when a vehicle is in close proximity of another to avoid collisions. This control scheme is then applied to the mock visual inspection of a nuclear intermediate level waste storage drum. The inspection is completed using two commercially available quadcopters, in a laboratory environment, with the acquired visual inspection data processed and photogrammetrically meshed to generate a three-dimensional surface-meshed model of the drum. This paper contributes to the field of multi-agent coverage path planning for structural inspection and provides experimental validation of the control and inspection results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages21
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2016


  • artificial kinematic field
  • automatic optical inspection
  • photogrammetry
  • swarm
  • unmanned aerial vehicle control


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