Infrastructure monitoring is being transformed by the advancements on remote sensing, unmanned vehicles and information technology. The wide interaction among these fields and the availability of reliable commercial technology are helping pioneer intelligent inspection methods based on digital 3D models. Commercially available Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been used to create 3D photogrammetric models of industrial equipment. However, the level of automation of these missions remains low. Limited flight time, wireless transfer of large files and the lack of algorithms to guide a UAV through unknown environments are some of the factors that constraint fully automated UAV inspections. This work demonstrates the use of unsupervised Machine Learning methods to develop an algorithm capable of constructing a 3D model of an unknown environment in an autonomous iterative way. The capabilities of this novel approach are tested in a field study, where a municipal water tank is mapped to a level of resolution comparable to that of manual missions by experienced engineers but using $63\%$ . The iterative approach also shows improvements in autonomy and model coverage when compared to reproducible automated flights. Additionally, the use of this algorithm for different terrains is explored through simulation software, exposing the effectiveness of the automated iterative approach in other applications.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Arce Munoz, Samuel, "Optimized 3D Reconstruction for Infrastructure Inspection with Automated Structure from Motion and Machine Learning Methods" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8469.
structure from motion, machine learning, DBSCAN, principal components analysis, UAV, infrastructure monitoring