A robotic system for steel bridge maintenance: Field testing

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 2010 Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, ACRA 2010, 2010
Issue Date:
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This paper presents the field testing results of an autonomous manipulator-based robotic system that strips the paint and rust from steel bridges [Liu et al., 2008]. The key components of this system are sensing and planning, which have been presented in other research papers. The grit-blasting field trial presented in this paper spanned 6 weeks, and included 20 hours over 4.5 days of actual grit-blasting operation. The field testing has verified the algorithms developed for exploration, mapping, surface segmentation, robot motion planning and collision avoidance. It has also proved that the robotic system is able to perform bridge maintenance operations (grit-blasting), reduce human workers' exposure to hazardous and dangerous debris (containing rust, lead-based paint particles), and relieve workers from labour-intensive tasks. The system has been shown to position a grit-blast nozzle so as to remove the paint and rust at the same rate that is expected of a worker with equivalent equipment: small grit-blasting pot and medium-sized hose nozzle. Testing in the field has also highlighted important issues that need to be addressed.
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