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Risk-aware Automated Port Inspection Drone(s)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RAPID (Risk-aware Automated Port Inspection Drone(s))

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-11-30

Risk Aware Port Inspection Drones, RAPID, is a consortium founded to increase effieciency on tasks undertaken within a City port environment (HPA - Port of Hamburg) and increase productivity of those tasks when resources are allocated to perform them. The Ports around Europe are part of the arterial transport system and connect the maritime and landside spheres. Ports are constantly looking to ensure that the infrasturucture of their internal transport systems (roads, bridges, ships, and canals) are safe and compliant with safety standards within the differnet transport spheres. The inspections undertaken by the Ports are non destructive visual inspections completed by their on site engineers. RAPID looks to further the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to complete these tasks and reduce the time taken to complete the inspection to 10% of the current time. Freeing up the engineer for anaylsis.

The importance for society will be a focus on increasing the safety for those working in those environments and security of the overall civil transport system within the EU. By showing the improvements in efficiency within these tasks the RAPID project will be developing the early warning systems for work needed to be carried out on ths infrastucture, preventing disasters and saving lives. Further RAPIDs work will contribute and advance the current safety systems, aiming to set standards that will become a global reference point. Combined with contributing to the legal framework that will allow the work of RAPID to become commonplace, to help build on public acceptance of these technolgies. RAPID utilises the latest technology within the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) is and is looking to

1. Improve the operational safety of using the UAS and contributing to the risk managment when planning their operations.
2. Minimise the risk of collision between the UAS assets and contributing to the robustness of opertating within a swarm.
3. Extend the reach and operational duty cycle of the UAS. RAPID will develop smart energy management increasing the reliability of the power systems on the UAS.
4. Improve the efficiency of monitoring the structural condition by introducing smart automation into th einsight of the key infrastructure in our test environemnt.
5. Raising public awareness of the laws and standards for UAS/USV operations. Helping the public to be aware of the technoligies and the contribution they can make within civil society.
6. Fast track outcomes of the RAPID project and the technologies developed within RAPID allowing the business model to be scaled.
The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) identified the best test sites for the RAPID prototype to be deployed and gathered and labelled a database of known cracks for their Thales partners. HPA also undertook the Initial tasks of defining service needs, costing them, and compare them to the proposed RAPID objectives. The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are investigating the cyber-physical approaches to performance prediction and optimisation of smart drone perception that combine high-fidelity sensor simulation with scenario digital twins and artificial intelligence. Modelled some of the expected dynamic agents that could be a hazard for drone flight using animation software, birds, small aircraft, and other drones etc. One of the ambitions of RAPID will be to see the Drone combine with a Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) and allow the waterways within the Port of Hamburg to be utilised fully. The University of Limerick is developing a take-off and landing system that looks to be accurate within 5cm as a prototype. UL have also Investigated detect and avoid sensors for close range (50m) and long range agents (2km)

Once the RAPID team are able to set up a mission and deploy the RAPID service we would look to reduce the recharge time of any drone that is deployed. The SINTEF team are the lead involved in extending the energy autonomy within the RAPID model. SINTEF have worked on; Mitigating the effects of partial shading on the solar panels used on the USV. Thales have worked on the bridge inspection focussing on identifying cracks in the concrete that may exist when RAPID undertakes a survey. RAPIDs aim to have an impact on the regulatory use of drones within the EC is led by University of Dundee international and domestic law related to drones Outputs that will be published in the next 18 months from this work include.

The Fraunhofer Centre for Marine Logistics have been working on tasks involved with many other partners along with work within their own work package. They have been keeping partners updated on progress concerning leading the development of our User service interface and redesigning an emission monitoring package for the work RAPID will undertake on Port Emission monitoring.

The USV mentioned previously is the design of our XOcean partner who are making the vessel available for adaption by the RAPID partners. XOcean are leading the development of our business plan and along with UWS will be looking over the building of a network and clustering activities with RAPIDs sister projects. The RAPID website has now been up and running for 12 months and our communications lead partner Revolve have been keeping an eye on the impact the website has been making. Revolve have provided support for the RAPID team by; facilitating the transfer and translation of technical results between research, industry, and policy towards a larger, less specialised audience and lead the Social media campaigns and keeping the communication tools and platforms up to date.
Work continues on all of our work streams for the second half of the RAPID project. Each partner is responsible for making sure they are on course to deliver the expected impacts of the RAPID service, the expected results to come from the RAPID team are;

A mixed reality digital twin of the Port of Hamburg that will model and simulate airborne hazards, developing the LiDAR simulations to predict how well drones can identify those hazards. (UWS)
Prove the 2km range of the detect and avoid system.
Improve the accuracy of the take off and landing system.
Enable a robust UAS and USV swarm to operate semi-autonomously.
Extending the operational range of the UAS and USV swarm and the active duty cycle.
Explore Deep Neural Networks to help the crack detection system.
Organise a Legal conference to establish a regulatory “Heat Map” of the EC member states. Taking input from leaders in the legal field from around Europe.
Progress the User interface to incorporate information from the digital twin and other information sources (weather etc.) and enable it to give high level warnings.

Engaging with the public through our communication platforms and other research leads in the clustering activities and conferences will allow the RAPID project to get involved in their developing field. The External Expert Board will meet twice more in the next 18 months to give an overview of the service and impacts it may make.
Picture of the Test Site identified for RAPID in Hamburg Port Month 34
RAPID Website screenshot
Newcastle Airfield - Test Site for RAPID in Month 22
Scanning and modelling
Battery Hot Swap prototype
Digital Twin elemetns - Flock of birds
Sensor imagery used within the RAPID project - Where is the drone
Images of Digital Twin - bridge - For RAPID Use Case 4 Bridge inspection
XOcean USV for extended energy autonomy