Ship hulls, as well as bridges, port dock pilings, dams, and various underwater structures need to be inspected for periodic maintenance. Additionally, there is a critical need to provide protection against sabotage activities, and to establish effective countermeasures against illegal smuggling activities. Unmanned underwater vehicles are suitable platforms for the development of automated inspection systems, but require integration with appropriate sensor technologies. This paper describes a vision system for automated ship-hull inspection, based on computing the necessary information for positioning, navigation, and mapping of the hull from stereo images. Binocular cues are critical in resolving a number of complex visual artifacts that hamper monocular vision in shallow-water conditions. Furthermore, they simplify the estimation of vehicle pose and motion, which is fundamental for successful automatic operation. The system has been implemented on a commercial remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and tested in pool and dock tests. Results from various trials are presented to demonstrate the system capabilities.
- Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)
- Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)
- Underwater visual inspection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Ocean Engineering