A Closer Aerial Inspection of Automated Shipping Yards in Motion
Storage cranes at Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s (HHLA) modern and efficient shipment yard require an annual survey of over 30km of rail per terminal. A research team at TU Braunschweig – AEROINSPEKT, has developed a system to perform airborne measurement of critical infrastructure in operation, thus reducing downtime required by manned ground inspection.
Millimeter Resolution using Aerial Photogrammetry
The AeroInspekt team has created a cost-effective solution that provides airborne measurement and inspection critical infrastructure during operation.
Automated storage cranes are the heart of HHLA's modern and efficient container terminals and require annual inspection to measure any changes in the systems’ rail tracks due to changes in geomorphological conditions of subsoil in the harbor. Using a Phase One Industrial iXM-100 medium format camera (150 mm optics) at low altitudes of 35 m makes it possible to acheive an large image with of 7.7 m with a resolution of up to 1 millimeter.
"Phase One’s iXM-100 is the only camera that can capture such sharp and large images with its wide swath, from a safe altitude. The camera just works with no triggering problems"
Markus BobbePHD Researcher - Institute of Flight Guidance, TU Braunschweig
HHLA’s Storage cranes have to be regularly checked, measured for any ground settlement changes or movement, and repaired. Traditional surveying activities lead to operational disruptions as they cannot be conducted while the systems are in motion.
Innovative automated surveying systems increases productivity through uninterrupted use of container storage and improve human-machine interaction. Possible physical stress on the infrastructure can be reduced and occupational safety can be increased by using UAVs.
By flying the Phase One iXM-100 medium format aerial camera at low altitudes of only 35 m, surveying with a resolution of up to 1 millimeter is possible. During the project, the workflows for processing and interpretation of the large data sets are developed, optimized and evaluated by the team on the ground.
Captured with a Phase One Industrial iXM-100, f/5.6, 1/2500sec, ISO320, 150mm focal-length, 35m height, image width 7.7m. AeroInspekt – Germany 2019 ©
- The fully integrated drone solution contains:
- Phase One iXM-100 Aerial Camera
- 150mm RSM lens
- DJI M600 PRO drone
- Phase One iX Capture Mobile Application
The system offers a cost-effective measurement of small-scale areas with millimetre accuracy. The motorized RSM lens offers the flexibility to fly the UAV at higher altitudes, if needed.
Reactive Mission Planning in Dynamic Environments
Drones conventionally follow a stripe-pattern to evenly cover a photogrammetry survey mission area. During the inspection of crane rails in an operating container terminals this approach is unsuited since parts of the tracks on the created images will be covered by moving cranes. A complete reconstruction of the rails requires an adaption of the flight path of the drone depending on the current position and velocity of the operating cranes.
The AeroInspekt system monitors the mission for conflicts and re-plans the UAV flight path while considering the constraints given by the terminal operator and the photogrammetric surveyor.
Watch AeroInspekt in Action
Watch the Phase One Drone Solution as part of the AeroInspekt and HHLA project - 2019 © TU Brunschweig.
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