Cimbing Robots

CREA

CROMSCI

 

The inspection of large structures such as bridge piers, dams or cooling towers provides an enormous economic potential for climbing robots. In this case, the safe adhesion of the machines on the building is the biggest problem, which has only partially been solved in research.

The research group works on the development of climbing robots for inspection of concrete structures since several years. In this context, the problem of safe navigating of a robot vehicle on rough surfaces (chipping, splitting, cracking, blisters) had priority. To increase the safety of such systems, multi-chamber systems are investigated. By modeling the thermodynamics in vacuum chambers, the pressures in the inflatable seals and the total air flow, essential knowledge for the realization of control concepts has been derived. These formal descriptions allow an adequate negative pressure control of the suction chambers, which was implemented in a way, that the failure of one or more chambers still enables a safe navigation.

In order to assess the traversability of very rough surfaces, learning and optimization strategies are used. Based on the measurement of the surface using laser technology and the behavior of the vacuum chambers when driving over surfaces that rating is determined and adapted during the ride. To validate the control and regulation approaches, a specially developed simulation environment is used. With the 7-chamber system CROMSCI and climbing robot CREA, consisting of 11 vacuum chambers, two powerful systems are available that have been developed in recent years in the research group, with which already successful testing of concrete structures has been done.