Autonomous ultrasonic inspection using unmanned aerial vehicle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

22 Citations (Scopus)
167 Downloads (Pure)


In terms of safety and convenience, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) offers significant benefits when conducting remote NDT evaluations by mitigating hazards and inefficiencies associated with manned access. Traditionally, UAV remote inspections rely on high-resolution cameras, providing a visual overview of surface condition. This photogrammetric inspection, however, cannot distinguish minute discontinuities or deformations beneath a surface coating. Ultrasonic inspection is a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) method conventionally used in corrosion mapping. Surface contacting ultrasonic transducers offer the potential for internal inspection of an industrial asset, providing enhanced structural integrity information. However, manually piloting a UAV with sufficient surface proximity to perform a detailed, contact-based examination requires a highly developed skillset and intense concentration. Limitations of payload mass and electronic interference also represent significant challenges to be overcome. Addressing such issues, this paper demonstrates the implementation of an autonomous UAV system with an integrated ultrasonic contact measurement payload. The prototype is autonomously guided and undertakes the contact thickness measurement process without manual intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS)
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781538634257
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018
Event2018 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium - Portopia Hotel, Kobe, Japan
Duration: 22 Oct 201825 Oct 2018


Conference2018 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium
Abbreviated titleIUS 2018


  • ultrasonic inspection
  • UAV
  • autonomous control


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