The Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC, Sevilla, Spain) organizes the first edition of the RAMI (Robotics for Asset Maintenance and Inspection) competition for aerial robots.
RAMI is one of the four challenge-led robotic competitions of METRICS project (https://metricsproject.eu/). RAMI competition aims at addressing Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) tasks achieved by aerial and underwater robots, offering the possibility of increasing the spatial/temporal resolution of the inspection process, improving the operation persistency and the quality of the acquired data. At the same time, these robotic domains have the potential to reduce the operational costs and to increase the safety of workers, especially in dangerous areas, such as explosive atmosphere (ATEX) environments, or works at height.
However, in order to tackle the different challenges of the I&M sector, and increase the added value of using robots, it is key to increase their autonomy level. A high degree of autonomy is especially required when a direct link with an operator cannot be guaranteed, or when it is required to perform inspection tasks repetitively. Autonomous decisions can also increase the robot’s mission performance and guarantee robot survival in hostile or cluttered environments, where it is difficult to teleoperate robots safely.
Moreover, it has been identified that the most promising applications in the I&M sector require the use of aerial and underwater robots due to the risks and costs associated to work at height or underwater inspection performed by human operators. Therefore, the RAMI competition will focus on these two types of robots, to push the state of the art in terms of autonomy navigation and performance. RAMI will focus on the Oil&Gas and renewable energy sectors, both off-shore and on-shore facilities. In these domains, commercial robots used for I&M are usually teleoperated such as the Remotely Operated Vehicles in these industries, or drones for visual inspection of large infrastructures in refineries. RAMI addresses this need by increasing, assessing and evaluating the robot autonomy in I&M tasks.
Since aerial and underwater domains are very different, both domains will be evaluated separately in two different tracks: Aerial domain, which is organized by CATEC, and Underwater domain, which is organized by the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE, La Spezia, Italy).
The first edition of METRICS RAMI competition for aerial robots will be held in conjunction with IROS 2021 (September 27th – October 1st). This competition will take place fully virtually using data generated during previous RAMI campaigns. The competition is open to everyone all around the world and is led by CATEC, one of the reference research centres in Europe devoted to aerial robotic technologies.
This first competition will assess the following two autonomy-based inspection tasks: 1) precise autonomous navigation without Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), since I&M activities may take place in environments with poor GNSS coverage or even indoors, and 2) automatic detection of defects using advanced AI algorithms, which is important for inspectors when they face considerable amounts of data to review.
Full details about the competition can be found on METRICS website: https://metricsproject.eu/inspection-maintenance/rami-cascade-campaign1-aerial-robots/
Author: CATEC - Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies
Photo credits: CATEC