Rov­ing ro­bot in­spects quake-af­fected prop­er­ties

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MO­TORS, DRIVES AND TRANS­MIS­SIONS -

A govern­ment-owned com­pany re­spon­si­ble for set­tling claims from the 2010 and 2011 earth­quakes in Can­ter­bury is us­ing a Uni­ver­sity of Can­ter­bury de­signed rov­ing ro­bot to in­spect for dam­age un­der build­ing piles.

South­ern Re­sponse/ Ar­row In­ter­na­tional has been us­ing the rover since Septem­ber 2013 and has so far in­spected and videoed about 100 dam­aged houses.

Rover ro­bot de­signer Dr Chris Hann says there has been some in­ter­est for us­ing the rover in other ar­eas, such as in­spect­ing for ter­mites in Aus­tralia and search and res­cue.

Post­grad­u­ate stu­dent Josh Gib­son is look­ing to im­prove the rover as part of his re­search project.

Gib­son’s role is in de­vel­op­ing a lo­cal­i­sa­tion and map­ping sys­tem, and mak­ing the sys­tem as sim­ple as pos­si­ble to op­er­ate.

“We have started us­ing a high def­i­ni­tion wide an­gle cam­era, this gives us high qual­ity im­ages and the high field of view makes driv­ing eas­ier. We have also up­graded the trans­mit­ters to al­low the rover to cover a greater dis­tance,” he says.

“The rover has a num­ber of ben­e­fits. It al­lows the in­spec­tion to be done by only one per­son. It is much safer es­pe­cially when look­ing un­der po­ten­tially dam­aged houses where there is the pos­si­bil­ity of col­lapse.”

The rover is smaller than a per­son so can get to ar­eas un­der a house where peo­ple can’t get to.

The in­for­ma­tion the rover pro­vides gives the en­gi­neers a bet­ter idea of what is go­ing on un­der the house be­fore the re­pair process has be­gun.

The rover uses an ar­ray of sen­sors to iden­tify and map the size and ex­tent of cracks and mea­sure dam­age un­der a build­ing.

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