Autonomous robots to inspect and maintain ship hulls and storage tanks

Some 56,000 ships weighing in excess of 500 tons are currently sailing the world’s oceans. For now, their maintenance is carried out by a high number of personnel: The cleaning of a ship’s hull currently takes about eight days and costs between 100,000 and 200,000 euros. The project “BugWright2 Autonomous Robotic Inspection and Maintenance on Ship Hulls and Storage Tanks” financed by EU-HORIZON2020 aims at developing autonomous technical solutions.

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Expanding the sensory skills of machines

Machines are already capable of many things. A certain set of sensors has already been fully developed. And yet, Harald Gietler, researcher at the Department of Smart Systems Technologies seeks to discover: “Who knows what kinds of sensors we will need in the future?” He is currently developing a new technology, which will allow machines to determine the location of other machines.

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Enabling drones to fly long-durations autonomously

In practical settings, ten minutes of flight time are generally not enough for most applications. A team comprised of researchers from the University of Klagenfurt (AAU) and NASA-JPL/California is working on ways to enable the autonomous flight of drones in several stages with intermittent charging phases. Christian Brommer, AAU doctoral student, has recently published the results of his research.

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