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SENSYN ROBOTICS, Inc., in collaboration with Fujita Corporation, has developed an "automatic patrol drone system for tunnel tunnels" that enables stable autonomous drone flight in indoor and other environments where GNSS*1 cannot be received, while simultaneously automating the collection of information on construction progress.
The technology was tested in the "Hanoura Tunnel Construction of the Cross-Island Highway in 2022-4*2 (Komatsushima City, Tokushima Prefecture)," which is currently under construction. The system was confirmed to be capable of conducting patrol inspections linked to BIM/CIM in the tunnel pit in a VR (virtual reality) space automatically generated from images taken by the onboard 360-degree camera.
*1 Global Navigation Satellite System
*2 Ordered by: Shikoku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Autonomous drone flight in a tunnel pit
This technology uses a drone developed by SENSYN ROBOTICS that uses LiDAR*3 for flight control, enabling safe and stable autonomous flight even in non-GNSS environments and dark tunnels. In addition, by linking the drone with the "OpenSpace "*4 on-site monitoring system that can generate VR space using image information acquired by the drone's 360-degree camera, each stage of construction site work can be comprehensively recorded, and construction management information can be centralized in conjunction with BIM/CIM. This enables rapid information sharing and analysis among related parties, leading to more efficient and advanced patrol and inspection operations.
In the future, we plan to further advance autonomous flight, expand to non-GNSS environments other than tunnels, and promote the use of point cloud data obtained by LiDAR for quality and form control, thereby continuing technological development to contribute to the development of i-Construction.
*3 Light Detection And Ranging: Technology to measure the distance and direction of objects based on the irradiation and reflection time of laser light.
*4 360-degree on-site monitoring system provided by OpenSpace (Open Space Labs, Inc.)
Background of Development
Until now, the use of drones at construction sites has been limited mainly to outdoor use because they cannot fly automatically or autonomously along predetermined routes without GNSS, and advanced operating techniques are required to pilot the drones. In addition, efficient inspection technology was required for tunnel construction where there are many obstacles such as machinery and equipment in dark areas and large heavy machinery is moving, and the time available for patrolling is limited.
Features and benefits of this technology
- Realization of stable autonomous drone flight and safety function (obstacle detection) without the intervention of skilled operators; autonomous drone flight from the tunnel entrance to the face of the tunnel without the need to specify a route, while recognizing its own position by LiDAR even indoors or in dark places where GNSS cannot be received. This enables the drone to comprehensively record the daily construction status of the tunnel, including high places, in a short period of time.
- By processing the vast amount of 360-degree camera images taken by the drone (one image taken every 50 cm when flying at 1 m/sec) with OpenSpace, VR images of the tunnel pit that can be linked and compared with BIM/CIM models and time-series image data are automatically generated in about 10 minutes using AI technology, and can be stored in the cloud. The images can be automatically generated in about 10 minutes using AI technology, and information can be shared on the cloud.
- Automation and manpower saving of conventional multiple inspections by multiple persons at remote sites and onsite. Reduction of inspection time: 1 hour per person per inspection, data organization time: 80% reduction.
- Enables inspection/inspection by patrol in VR space and attachment of comments and data in VR space, as well as rapid non-contact sharing of high-level information between client and contractor. We anticipate that the system will also be used for quality control and maintenance management records.
BIM/CIM Linkage Comparison
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About SENSYN ROBOTICS
Our mission is to evolve what is considered “commonplace” in society with the power of robotics. It is under this mission that we have continued to take on pressing challenges in regards to specific social issues in various fields focused on facility inspections, disaster response, and security and surveillance by achieving the full automation of work with the power of robotics since our establishment in October 2015.