Prototype Crawling Robotics System for Remote Visual Inspection of High-mast Light Poles

Report No: 98-R2

Published in 1997

About the report:

This report presents the results of a project to develop a crawling robotics system for the remote visual inspection of high-mast light poles in Virginia. The first priority of this study was to develop a simple robotics application that would reduce hazards to the public and employees of the 'Virginia Department of Transportation and increase the efficiency of inspections. The prototype crawling robotics system developed (POLECAT-I) consists of a magnetically attached crawler for vertical and horizontal scanning of the outside of poles with a remote visual inspection device. Laboratory and field tests evaluated the crawler's mechanical performance and video resolution. The robot can inspect flat, cylindrical, and tapered surfaces with a longitudinal taper of 12 mm/m and a minimum outside diameter of200 mm; change the direction of the inspection from vertical to horizontal and vice versa on these surfaces; and overcome vertical obstacles up to 7 mm high. The system provides better crack resolution than conventional methods. This work holds great potential for significant cost savings with regard to inspections as well as improved safety.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Margarit G. Lozev, Colin C. MacLaurin, Monica L. Butts, Rafael M. Inigo

Last updated: December 15, 2023

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