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Hull Identification System for Marine Autonomous Robotics

Final Report Summary - HISMAR (Hull Identification System for Marine Autonomous Robotics)

Mission statement:
To design, develop and build a working self navigating robotic prototype for the purpose of autonomous hull cleaning and inspection of ocean going commercial and military vessels.

Key objectives:
- To develop a multipurpose robotic platform for mapping a vessels external profile to allow repeatable and safe navigation of its surface.
- To develop optical and magnetic sensing devices for accurate dead reckoning positioning of a robotic platform traversing the surface of a ship's hull.
- To develop platform 'plug in' functional modules to enable surveying of hull structural integrity and to carry out cleaning of the ship hull.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by providing a tool to maintain low hull resistance through continuous in-water cleaning.
- Reduce the likelihood of vessel structure failure by providing a tool to monitor hull structural integrity continuously without dry-docking.
- To develop a multipurpose robotic platform for mapping a vessels external profile to allow repeatable and safe navigation of its surface.
- To develop optical and magnetic sensing devices for accurate dead reckoning positioning of a robotic platform traversing the surface of a ship's hull.
- To develop platform 'plug in' functional modules to enable surveying of hull structural integrity and to carry out cleaning of the ship hull.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by providing a tool to maintain low hull resistance through continuous in-water cleaning.
- Reduce the likelihood of vessel structure failure by providing a tool to monitor hull structural integrity continuously without dry-docking.


The work performed involved six technical work packages, one work package relating to intellectual property rights (IPRs), dissemination and exploitation and one work package relating to project and task management.

The first work package provided the consortium with a clear understanding of the technology, equipment and techniques needed for the project. End user requirements were established and a cost benefit analysis undertaken. This was a key achievement for this period of the project as a clear understanding of the technology and the customer needs was essential before any detailed design was undertaken.

The second work package involved the design, construction, testing and performance analysis of the navigational sensory system consisting of the magnetic landmark recognition system (MLRS) and the optical dead reckoning system (ODRS). The magnetic attachment system and drive system were designed, manufactured and assembled. The control architecture development was also completed. Finally, the drive and attachment systems were tested in terms of their individual performance and also their interactions.

The design and construction of the cleaning module was completed along with the hull structural integrity module. The hull inspection module incorporates cameras to perform the visual inspection of the hull whilst thickness measurements are undertaken by the MLRS using magnetic flux leakage (MFL) readings.

Finally, the last technical work package involved the integration of the components into a fully operational prototype, followed by laboratory and field testing and performance analysis.

Key achievements and end results were:
- Technical end user requirements of the project were identified and a cost benefit analysis completed.
- Development of the magnetic and optical sensory navigation system.
- Intelligent navigational system prototype developed.
- Successful construction, testing and integration of the drive and attachment system
- Completion of the cleaning and structural integrity modules.
- System testing and performance analysis.
- Ongoing exploitation of IPR and opportunities for dissemination and commercialisation.
- Successful project and task management in order to ensure successful project delivery.

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