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Application of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Monitoring Cylindrical Buildings
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Inspection of cracks on the surface of tall structures including chimneys, towers, containment buildings, and other cylindrical shapes is executed by visual monitoring to some extent, for which skilled field crews often climb up the cylindrical structures and special equipment such as cranes are used, preventing frequent monitoring and being in many cases a time consuming, expensive and dangerous practice. Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) may be a solution for visual inspection and recognition of cracks on the surface of structures in comparison with traditional methods, taking into consideration their use in other non-military fields such as agriculture, engineering and construction. These devices can be controlled manually or autonomously with computer applications. Manual control has some challenges related to the necessity of flying the SUAS very close to the structure and maintaining their line of sight, and for that reason, autonomous missions may be a convenient option in order to use those devices for the inspection and recognition of cracks in structures. This work assesses the possibility of using autonomous missions in SUAS for the visual inspection of cylindrical structures. A series of computer applications were developed in order to control the SUAS and their flight around a simple cylindrical building while taking pictures. This study also tests the applications to see if they are working properly with a certain level of tolerance. This research gives a clear idea as to how accurately one can autonomously control the position of SUAS for cylindrical structures’ monitoring, which will be used to develop more sophisticated applications in the future.
Arenas Bermudez, Javier Eduardo (2016). Application of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Monitoring Cylindrical Buildings. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from