Unmanned flights to remote areas.

• The University of Salamanca designed a robotic helicopter that captures thermal images.
• It study the energy efficiency and structural damage to buildings.
• It also allows to reconstruct three-dimensional monuments.

UnmannedA multidisciplinary team from the University Of Salamanca (USAL), composed by surveyors, physicists, mathematicians and industrial and mining engineers are working from Ávila developing a research project with innovative applications in the world of engineering and heritage.
The project is a Robotic Air System (SAR) called ‘oktokopter’-eight arms or propellers and eight engines- that can fly without a pilot and, given its small size and remote operation, reach difficult corners to man, capturing images which can then be converted in 3D for different applications.
These include the inspection of large bridges, quarries and everything related with the heritage -elevations, profiles and sections-. To this we have to add the possibility, currently under development, for studies of energy efficiency in buildings from a thermal camera or measure water stress in plants. The latter case may be of interest to winegrowers.
This research project, which currently only has application in universities is being developed from the Information Technology for Heritage Documentation research group (TIDOP), led by a researcher at the University of Salamanca, Diego González Aguilera, doctor of the Engineering Geodesy and Cartography photogrammetry. With him, the industrial engineer Jesús Fernández Hernández, associate of USAL, and other younger researchers like Pablo Rodríguez Gonzálvez and Juan Mancera Taboada professor also found.
Both Fernández Hernández and González Aguilera agree that what is new is that this USAL team gives “one step” trying, through the research, to “add value to the plataform.”

Save costs and risks

This project promoted by the University of Salamanca, which is still under development, is an improvement from the point of view of research, but also in cost savings, as well as the possible reduction of accidents, being able to act in dangerous and inaccessible places.
Research efforts are being made in different directions. One is the development of tools and software to expand the operational and navigational capabilities of these platforms. Thus, it is intended to improve not only how to control the device, but to improve their positioning.
Another original feature is intended to include by the TIDOP group is derived from research into new low-cost sensors that enable the three-dimensional location of the 3D location with greater precision.

Damage in building and wineyards

This section is where we are studying the possibility of including a thermal camera that has the ability to detect other data almost imperceptible to the naked eye as structural damage and energy efficiency studies. This issue can be very interesting to detect the energy efficiency in buildings and even find heat loss in some of them, when this situation occurs.
The development of this application is being made in collaboration with the University of Castilla-La Mancha, like NDVI camera system that can measure water stress in plants. This system incorporated to the ‘oktokopter’ could be very interesting for the winemakers of the community and who would be able to monitor whether their vineyards need more water or, on the contrary, their abundance. This infrared camera would be used with different wavelength.

3D monuments

Another innovation that the USAL team intends to introduce to the aerial robotic system is “the implementation of 3D simulators that allow planning, study and simulation of 3-dimensional environments, facilitating flight plans and making the flight of these platforms semiautonomous “, says Diego González Aguilera.
Furthermore, this system allows the reconstruction of 3D environments, from aerial photographs taken from aerial robotic platforms and from the ground. So you can take photos for spherical 360-degree photos. The project is intended to include the possibility that, prior to the departure of the ship, design a flight plan to the virtual machine to do photos for use in the posterior and simulated reproduction of buildings, monuments, quarrying and infrastructure in 3D.

Unmanned

The walls of Avila, only a click and in 3D.

The new system will be adapted for people with disabilities.

The walls of AvilaFor two years, the Group of Information Technologies for the Heritage Documentation at the University of Salamanca (TIDOP) has worked to develop the project on laser surveying and virtual viewer for the metric documentation and cataloging of the Walls of Ávila, called “Virtual Wall”. It is a program with a novel dual role, as it will allow 3D visits to the monument, with informative and also enable improve conservation actions.
Diego González Aguilera, professor and researcher of TIDOP, explains that “Virtual Wall” uses the newest laser technology, superior in quality than the theodolite and the GPS, ensure “accessibility” to the monument, at least virtually, offering unique perspectives and is easy to use. Moreover, from the scientific point of view, allows the control “stone by stone” of the Wall. The project can be applied in a technical and patrimonial side adapted to the technical services of heritage, planning and maintenance of the Wall.
The other side is the tourist, cultural and outreach. In this respect, the most immediate project, but still without date, will be the launch of this initiative, which allows a virtual tour of the Wall, through three informatic points that will be located in as many tourist sites, which will be the Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center “Lienzo Norte», the Visitor Reception Center and “Hall of butchers”, which recently opened an Integral Tourist Office. This system will also be fully accessible, so that will be adapted for people with disabilities.

The other side is the tourist, cultural and outreach. In this respect, the most immediate project, but still without date, will be the launch of this initiative, which allows a virtual tour of the Wall, through three informatic points that will be located in as many tourist sites, which will be the Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center “Lienzo Norte», the Visitor Reception Center and “Hall of butchers”, which recently opened an Integral Tourist Office. This system will also be fully accessible, so that will be adapted for people with disabilities.

The walls of Avila

Pindal Cave in Asturias reconstructed in 3D.

Pindal cave, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO since July of this year, can tour in 3D thanks to a research by a team of professors at the Polytechnic School of Avila, who heads Diego González Aguilera.

This team, known as Tidop Research Group (Information Technology for Heritage Documentation) just completed under the supervision of Professor Mario Menéndez, Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at UNED, its comprehensive documentation and metric 3D reconstruction.
But what is the real importance of this work? “The determination of the geometric component in the accurate documentation of the heritage involves the quantification of the special characteristics of the object, especially its shape and dimensions, orientation and location”, profesor González Aguilera explains, “and this operation becomes important in the sense that their results may become the basis for reconstruction and is also a testimony of the prior state to any intervention or modification.”
Pindal cave stands in the vicinity of the town of Pimiango in Ribadedeva (Asturias), near the border with Cantabria. This beautiful corner is well known for some cave paintings discovered in 1908.

Terrestrial laser scanner

Recently, the use of terrestrial laser scanner, used in researchs, enables a new approach to the problem of documentation and three-dimensional geometric modeling of the Paleolithic caves and parietal art. According to the studio manager says, this is the land Trimble GX scanner mounted on the Manfrotto 400 swivel that allows spins with three degrees of freedom, necessary to accommodate the position of the scanner to the characteristics of the cave. “The data captured by this team is finally summarized the three-dimensional XYZ coordinates of mesh points and their radiometric values in RGB color system,” points out the technical details González Aguilera.
Basically this laser and two high resolution digital cameras were the tools needed to carry out the fieldwork. “The field work was conducted for five alternate days. They included five members of the group Tidop aided by two operators of the Council.
“Thus it was possible to combine the laser scanning and the photo shoot,” says González Aguilera, further explains that, given the complexity of the geometry inside the cave and the problems caused by occlusions, both for laser scans as for photographic archive was necessary to make a total of 19 laser stations, from which they made general scans of 360º with mesh steps of 2 centimeters in 20 meters, and two shots per point.
“This data collection configuration ensured more than 15% of overlapping between the point clouds obtained, thereby having a guarantee for proper fusion of the point clouds”, says the professor of the Polytechnic. In fact, a total of 33 million points in XYZ coordinates were obtained for the geometrical definition of the interior of the cavern.
On the other hand were the photo sessions that involved two different types of work: a set of shots to complete the work of the laser, through the ability to provide high-resolution photographic texture to the point cloud, and another set of shots with the fisheye lens for the generation of linked panoramas that allow us to generate a virtual visit. For this 25 photographic stations were chosen from which we made the seven necessary shots to compose each of the 25 panoramas.

Computer processing

After the processing of all the data the team obtained a ground orthophoto. “It shows a top view of the cave, which can be considered as a precise and detailed plan of the cave”, begins to list his conclusions Professor González Aguilera. Furthermore, orthophotos of the cave paintings room and a textured 3D model were obtained. “This is an interactive model through which you can navigate, retaining the metric properties and being able to see the object from inaccessible points of view,” says the teacher, pointing this advantage of the system.
Diego González Aguilera explains that from the data obtained has been possible to draw another set of tools and applications that have resulted in obtaining virtual flights, that is, a number of video files generated from the laser three-dimensional models, as well as a virtual tour that has been generated by coherent composition of the whole panoramic photographs taken before and also has been able to generate transverse and longitudinal sections of the cave. With this work done in the environment that will, among other things, better and wider dissemination of the cave is complete. With this the work is completed and it will allow, among other things, a better and wider dissemination of the cave.

The ‘digital dream’ to make the heritage of the region more accessible.

The walls of Ávila, the aqueduct of Segovia and Schoolyard of Salamanca undergo a virtual accessibility project designed by Polytechnic School of Ávila.

digital dreamThe walls of Ávila, the aqueduct of Segovia, the Roman city of Clunia in Burgos and Schoolyard of the University of Salamanca will no longer be inaccessible heritage assets for people with disabilities through the work of TIDOP – Information Technologies for the Heritage Documentation – Polytechnic School of Ávila, attached to the University of Salamanca, and a virtual accessibility in 3D project from a technology that has dubbed “The digital dream”.
The group where working on the ‘Sv3Dvisión’ initiative for five years and they presented it in Salamanca under the Virtual Reality and Leisure Fair, organized by the Recovery Center for Persons with Physical Disabilities (CRMF). It uses digital cameras, a laser scanner with a 350 meter beam and a panoramic camera from which capture “impossible views” to digitize and make virtually accessible the most important heritage of Castilla and León, said Diego González Aguilera, one of the members of TIDOP.
Thanks to the combination of these three sensors not only get the 3D reconstruction outside the monuments or archaeological sites, they also make a “radiography of their structure to see the skeleton of the monument” and get measurements that are useful for experts enabling them to know details that, in the case of the walls of Avila, goes from the height of the monument, the size of the stones through the width of the battlement.

In addition, the project is also designed to ‘navigate’ through the assets, even reaching to areas restricted for general public access – Las Caldas cave (Oviedo) – incorporate elements that once existed but now gone – Celt caves in the Castro of Cogotas (Ávila) and roman City of Clunia (Burgos) – and even get information on anything that is within a construction – Romanic Church of San Pedro of Ávila- from a frame to the temple belfry . Part of the assets addressed by the TIDOP Group is accessible via the internet address www.usal.es/imap3d

Without barriers

González Aguilera explained that thanks to technology baptized ‘The digital dream’ is achieved both overcome architectural barriers, such as geographical and temporal plus spatial and protection barriers, linked to limited access to the monuments.
In the case of architectural barriers, professor of the Polytechnic School of Ávila said that thanks to the technology used and through the images taken from air and land are reconstructed in 3D the most important monuments and made them accessible through Internet, including information in text format in its most significant elements to which the user can access only clicking the mouse.
As stated, ‘The digital dream’ also overcomes geographical barriers in the case of inaccessible constructions or deposits such as the Ulaca castro (Ávila) whose contemplation requires walking up for 20 minutes for the mountain- and also jump barriers temporary. So, he referred to the work in archaeological sites and findings of human remains, which surveys are conducted and finally capped.
In this way, he highlighted the work done by the Group in Jewish tanneries of San Segundo (Ávila) and the Roman town of “San Pedro del Arroyo”, where an iconic mosaic and several rooms was found that, as in the tanneries, were excavated and then covered to prevent spoliation. However, they can be visited thanks to its 3D reconstruction.
As for overcoming spatial barriers, Diego González Aguilera insisted that the work is useful for both people with disabilities and for those that are not, because thanks to the installation of a camera to “remote sites” -at 70 meters of high- is achieved to generate “impossible views” of the monuments that would be impossible to access with conventional technology. It is the case of the work done in the Cloister of Silence monastery of Santo Tomás in Ávila, where visitors can “dive” and see the “skeleton” of the monument.
The professor of the Polytechnic of Ávila added that the designed system facilitates also omit the called “protective barriers” which are those that exist on Palaeolithic and prehistoric caves to which the public has restricted access. This technology allows to do a replica of them and document corners to which man has not yet come. This is the case of Las Caldas cave in Asturias, where entry is prohibited and thanks to the laser scanner is accessed to galleries where the prehistorian has not arrived yet, he said.
González Aguilera emphasized the positive reaction of the disabled people after the project presentation. As stated, the Virtual Reality Fair provided a framework for presenting new techniques to operate a computer without a mouse,with the eyes, depending on the blink, “very interesting technological devices for people with a high degree of disability.” From their point of view, the result of the combination of both technologies “can be tremendous.”

Almost all Ávila

About the work of the TIDOP Group – Javier Gómez Lahoz, Ángel Luís Muñoz Nieto, Jesús Sabas Herrero and Diego González Aguilera, in the last years and thanks to an important part of final year projects, they have touched heritage assets of almost all the provinces of “Castilla y Leon”
While ” Ávila is almost completely digitized ” in Burgos has been digitized the Roman City and the Clunia theater and in Salamanca the schoolyard and Little Schools. Currently they are working on the aqueduct of Segovia and several chapels in the province. Regarding future projects, the group has received offers to work in part of the city wall and part of the Cathedral.

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Análisis termográfico de edificios

 

El uso de la termografía infrarroja comMapaEnergeticoo técnica sobradamente provada para la inspección de edificios y localización de patologías como fugas de aire, humedades, etc. Nos permite realizar un examen visual “in-situ” de calidad de los objetos de estudio gracias a la posibilidad de visualizar en tiempo real los resultados pudiendo detectar sin dificultad los desperfectos o elementos característicos de estos. Estas técnicas de medición cualitativa nos proporcionan la posibilidad de realizar inspecciones rápidas y eficaces sin contacto directo con el objeto y de forma no destructiva, lo que disminuye tanto el riesgo de incidentes para los operarios como los daños producidos en los propios objetos de estudio ocasionados por otras técnicas intrusivas. Además, también se ha demostrado la utilidad de la termografía infrarroja como técnica puramente de medida a través de su utilización para el cálculo de propiedades termofísicas de materiales tales como difusividad y transmitancia térmica.

En el caso de termografía cualitativa, las publicaciones existentes tratan de estudios realizados in-situ, principalmente en edificios históricos o elementos del patrimonio cultural, mientras que los estudios cualitativos se realizan, en la mayor parte de los casos, en laboratorios sobre muestras de tamaño limitado. En aquellos casos en los que se han realizado estudios termográficos cuantitativos sobre edificios in-situ, los valores de temperatura son empleados con el objetivo de obtener propiedades termofísicas (conductancia térmica) reales del cerramiento, sin embargo su distribución espacial no es considerada.

Conjugar ambas aplicaciones permitirá la automatización del cálculo de pérdidas de calor a partir de las temperaturas medidas con una cámara termográfica. De este modo, no solo se usa la termografía para representar el estado de la pared, sino que también se usan los valores de temperatura contenidos en la termografía para la extracción de parámetros métricos del edificio en estudio, por lo que la hibridación de la información termográfica con el material cartográfico de precisión permitiría extraer la geometría real del objeto de estudio con textura termográfica, pudiendo así realizar mediciones precisas de los elementos de interés directamente sobre el resultado obtenido.

 

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Estudios como el publicado por EuroACE en 2010 colocan la mejora de la eficiencia energética en edificación en cabeza de las acciones necesarias para la reducción de emisiones de gases del efecto invernadero y gasto energético, así como para servir de empuje a la generación de empleo. Especial es el caso del parque de edificios ya construidos, la mayoría procedente de los años 1940-80, con normativa inexistente y recursos escasos. En ellos las obras de rehabilitación energética pueden suponer un ahorro de hasta el 75% en consumo de energía. En España existen 13 millones de viviendas susceptibles de intervención, cuya rehabilitación energética supondría una reducción de las emisiones del sector del 34% con respecto al año 2001.

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Building thermographic analysis

 

 

The use of infraMapaEnergeticored thermography as a widely tested technique for building inspection and location of pathologies such as air leakage and moisture allows the performance of  quality “in-situ” visual examination of the objects under study due to the possibility of obtaining real-time results, being able to detect without difficulty damages or material characteristics. This qualitative measurement technique provides the capability of doing quick, effective and non-destructive inspection without direct contact with the object under study, decreasing the risk of incidents to operators and the damage of the objects comparing with other intrusive techniques. Furthermore, the utility of infrared thermography as a measurement technique has been proved by its use for the determination of the thermophysical properties of materials such as diffusivity and thermal transmittance.

In the qualitative approach, some authors have performed in-situ studies, mainly in historical buildings or cultural heritage elements, whereas quantitative studies are performed mainly in laboratories with limited size samples. In those cases where quantitative thermography studies were performed in-situ, temperature values were employed in order to obtain the real thermophysical properties (thermal conductance) of the building envelope, but their spatial distribution is not considered.

Combine both applications will enable the automation of the heat loss computation from the measured temperatures with a thermographic camera. Thus, the thermography is not only used to represent the state of the wall, but also temperature values represented on the thermography for extracting the metric parameters of the study object so the hybridization of the thermographic information with precise cartographic material would  allow to extract the actual geometry of the object of study with thermal texture, being able to make accurate measurements of the elements of interest directly on the obtained results.

 

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Studies such as the one published by EuroACE in 2010, places improved energy efficiency in building construction at the top of the list of actions that need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases and energy costs, in addition to acting as a stimulus to generate employment. In particular is the case of existing buildings stock, most of which dates back to the period 1940-80, constructed using non-existent standards and scarce resources. Here, energy refurbishment works could represent a saving of up to 75% in energy consumption. In Spain there are 13 million homes that could be the subject of intervention, where energy refurbishment could result in a reduction in sector emissions of 34% compared to 2001.

 

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Mobile Laser System (MLS) applied to urban tree inventory

In urbanized Western Europe trees are considered an important component of the built-up environment. This also means that there is an increasing demand for tree inventories. Laser mobile mapping systems provide an efficient and accurate way to sample the 3D road surrounding including notable roadside trees. In this research line, a processing chain aiming at the extraction of tree locations and tree sizes from laser mobile mapping data is reached.

  • Vegetation extraction

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  • Tree parameter extraction

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Such steps, in combination with code optimization are expected to be sufficient to reach the final goal of automatized estimation of features sampled by mobile mapping at a rate that matches the acquisition speed and at a quality that matches the result of a human operator.

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Miembro del grupo TIDOP

Lloyd A. Courtenay

Graduado en arqueología por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Actualmente está acabando un Máster en Arqueología del Cuaternario y Evolución Humana por la Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, con el objetivo de seguir con su formación investigadora matriculándose en un programa de Doctorado en prehistoria para el próximo año académico. Habiéndose especializado en el campo de la tafonomía, trabaja principalmente en el estudio microscópico de los restos óseos que aparecen en los yacimientos arqueológicos y paleontológicos. Su principal campo de investigación está dirigido hacia la aplicación de nuevas metodologías en yacimientos del Pleistoceno Inferior Africano. En los últimos años ha emprendido su carrera profesional adaptando los nuevos avances estadísticos en otros campos como la Inteligencia Artificial, buscando maneras de aplicarlos al estudio del registro fósil. Siguiendo esta línea de investigación, ha conseguido desarrollar una serie de algoritmos aplicando métodos de Machine y Deep Learning para el procesado de datos derivados de modelos 3D. Con el diseño de algoritmos complejos como las Redes de Neuronas Artificiales y las Máquinas de Vectores de Soporte, ha desarrollado nuevos modelos estadísticos que pueden distinguir entre la actividad de diferentes carnívoros a través de las marcas de dientes que dejan. Estos modelos permiten también la clasificación de las alteraciones microscópicas halladas como producto de agentes naturales o por el contrario, si fueron consecuencia de las actividades de caza de los antiguos homínidos.

Líneas de investigación:

  • Tafonomía y zooarqueología aplicado al estudio del Pleistoceno Inferior
  • Desarrollo de nuevos métodos para el estudio microscópico de los restos fósiles
  • Diseño y aplicación de nuevos métodos estadísticos en la arqueología, incluyendo la aplicación de técnicas 3D para la documentación de restos óseos, y el uso de algoritmos de Inteligencia Artificial para procesar tales datos
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TIDOP Member

Lloyd A. Courtenay

An Archaeology graduate having studied in the Complutense University of Madrid, he is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution in the University Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona. Starting next academic year, he intends to continue his professional career by enrolling in a Doctoral programme in prehistory. Specialised in the field of taphonomy, he works primarily on the microscopic study of osteological materials found in archaeological and paleontological sites. His main field of research lies in the development of new methods for the study of Lower Pleistocene sites in Africa. Over the last couple of years, he has focused his research on the adaptation of new statistical advances from other fields of research, such as Artificial Intelligence, with the hope of finding new means of applying these techniques to the prehistoric fossil register. Through this line of research, he has achieved the development of Machine and Deep Learning algorithms for the processing of 3D data. His most notable advances have included the development of Artificial Neural Networks and Support Vector Machines for the differentiation of carnivore activity through the tooth marks animals may leave on bone. He has also achieved models that are able to successfully classify microscopic traces, discerning between natural agents and those produced by ancient hominids in prehistoric butchery practices.

Research lines:

  • Taphonomy and zooarchaeology applied to the Lower Pleistocene
  • Development of new methodological approaches for the study of fossil remains
  • Design and application of new statistical models for archaeological studies, including 3D modelling for the documentation of bone, and the use of Artificial Intelligence algorithms for the processing of this data
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Drones terrestres aplicados al modelizado tridimensional e inspección de infraestructuras críticas y de difícil acceso.

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Equipar drones con sensores láser, detectores de obstáculos y sistemas de control remoto permite obtener de forma segura y fiable los modelos tridimensionales de escenarios críticos, entendiendo como escenarios críticos todos aquellos escenarios en los que una persona correría peligro realizando los trabajos.

Este tipo de escenarios abarcan desde grutas angostas y estrechas a las que es difícil acceder, hasta escenarios industriales complejos, como subestaciones eléctricas, en las que existen riesgos de descargas eléctricas, salas de calderas, edificios con problemas estructurales etc.

A pesar de ser lugares críticos, su mantenimiento e inspección es un aspecto clave en el campo del control preventivo de averías y deformaciones, por lo que obtener el modelo tridimensional de estos lugares es fundamental. En este sentido, los drones terrestres, cada vez más sofisticados, permiten integrar escáner láser terrestre para capturar el entorno, asi como detectores de obstáculos y diferentes sistemas de comunicación, de modo que pueden moverse de forma autónoma o ser teledirigidos de forma remota.

Hasta el momento se ha investigado la integración de drones terrestres y escáner láser utilizando dos metodologías de trabajo diferentes, según el grado de precisión y detalle que se necesite y dependiendo de las dimensiones del espacio en el que se esté trabajando.

 

Finalmente, se está investigando la manera de combinar los modelos tridimensionales obtenidos por los drones terrestres con datos procedentes de drones aéreos equipados con cámaras fotográficas o cámaras termográficas. Combinar ambos modelos es esencial para obtener una cobertura total de la escena de estudio y poder detectar anomalías en cualquier lugar. Ésta línea de acción se está introduciendo para controlar subestaciones eléctricas y plantas solares fotovoltaicas ya que en ambos casos es posible detectar zonas con un calentamiento anormal que indiquen un funcionamiento que deberá revisarse.

 

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Land drones applied to three-dimensional modeling and control of complex industrial environments

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Land drones can be armed with different devices such as terrestrial laser scanner, obstacle detectors or remote control systems, in order to provide accurate 3D models of unattended or critical environments in a safe way.

Environments like narrow caves that are difficult to access, electrical substations where there are risk of electric shock, boiler rooms or buildings with structural problems are considered critical environments for human operators due to the danger they entail.

Despite being critical spaces, its maintenance, inspection and control are essential to prevent damages and detect breakdowns, so accurate three-dimensional models are indispensable. For this purpose, terrestrial drones allow the integration of terrestrial laser scanners to capture the environment, as well as obstacle detectors and different communication systems, so that they can be autonomous vehicles or remote-controlled vehicles.

Depending on the accuracy needed and the dimensions of the study case, two different  combinations of technologies have been explored, both combining laser scanner with land drones.

To complete this research line, we are working in different methodologies to combine 3D models obtained with land drones and data obtained with aerial drones equipped with conventional cameras or thermo graphic cameras.

Mix both kind of models make the three-dimensional model much more complete and it is possible to detect pathologies in almost everywhere.  Some of this process has been used with success in electrical substations and photovoltaic solar plants, detecting, for example, anomalies in some panels.

 

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