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Future normally-unmanned oil platforms offer potentially significantly lower commissioning and operation costs than their current manned counterparts. The ability to initiate and perform remote inspection and maintenance (I&M) operations is crucial for maintaining such platforms. This paper presents a system solution, including key components such as a 3D robot vision system, a robot tool and a control architecture for remote I&M operations on processes similar to those on topside oil platforms. In particular, a case study on how to automatically replace a battery in a wireless process sensor is investigated. A novel robot tool for removing and re-attaching the sensor lid has been designed. Moreover, a robot control architecture for remote control of industrial-type robot manipulators is presented. A 3D robot vision system for localizing the sensor lid and the battery has been developed. The system utilizes structured light, using an off-the-shelf projector and a standard machine vision camera. A novel, robust and fast vision algorithm called 3D-MaMa has been adapted to work for object localization and pose estimation in complex scenes, in our case the process equipment in our lab facility. Experimental results from our lab facility are presented which describe a series of battery replacement operations for various unknown positions of the wireless sensor, and we report on accuracies and success ratios. The experiments demonstrate that the described vision system is able to recover the full pose and orientation of an object, and that the results are directly applicable for controlling advanced robot contact operations. Moreover, the custom-built lid operation tool demonstrates successful results.
Date of Conference: 18-22 Oct. 2010