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Visual control of an unmanned aerial vehicle for power line inspection

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2 Author(s)
I. Golightly ; Sch. of Informatics, Wales Univ., Gwynedd ; D. Jones

Using a robotic vehicle to inspect overhead power lines has many attractions. The concept of a small, rotorcraft which draws its power from the lines is introduced here. Some of its advantages compared with a free-flying aircraft are discussed. Achieving the required degree of autonomy and reliable power pick-up needs good control of the position and attitude of the vehicle relative to the overhead line. The paper considers an artificial-vision system, based on the Hough transform, for this purpose. A laboratory test rig is described which incorporates a dynamic model for a small, ducted-fan rotorcraft so that the response of the vehicle to wind gusts can be emulated. Measurements show that the closed-loop vision system is capable of counteracting the effect of such disturbances and maintaining the vehicle's position relative to the line

Published in:

ICAR '05. Proceedings., 12th International Conference on Advanced Robotics, 2005.

Date of Conference:

18-20 July 2005