Roving robot inspects quake-affected properties
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.