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Control of Aircraft for Inspection of Linear Infrastructure

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3 Author(s)
Bruggemann, T.S. ; Cooperative Res. Centre for Spatial Inf., Queensland Univ. of Technol., Brisbane, QLD, Australia ; Ford, J.J. ; Walker, R.A.

Inspection aircraft equipped with cameras and other sensors are routinely used for asset location, inspection, monitoring, and hazard identification of oil-gas pipelines, roads, bridges, and power transmission grids. This paper is concerned with automated flight of fixed-wing inspection aircraft to track approximately linear infrastructure. We propose a guidance law approach that seeks to maintain aircraft trajectories with desirable position and orientation properties relative to the infrastructure under inspection. Furthermore, this paper also proposes the use of an adaptive maneuver selection approach, in which maneuver primitives are adaptively selected to improve the aircraft's attitude behavior. We employ an integrated design methodology particularly suited for an automated inspection aircraft. Simulation studies using full nonlinear semicoupled six degree-of-freedom equations of motion are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed guidance and adaptive maneuver selection approaches in realistic flight conditions. Experimental flight test results are given to demonstrate the performance of the design.

Published in:

Control Systems Technology, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 6 )