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RINA AND GENOA UNIVERSITY DEVELOP ROBOT SHIP INSPECTION

Monday, June 22, 2020 

Two laboratories of the University of Genoa are testing and developing Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) for ship inspection under the ROBINS project.

The goal is to encourage the technology transfer of robotic know-how into the "traditionally reluctant to innovation" shipping community, to support ship surveyors and superintendents in many difficult or dangerous scenarios. The Testing Facility is now active at the University of Genoa: parts of ship structures are reproduced in full scale, using elements recovered from ship repair works including real defects and shapes.

According to RINA (Registro Italiano Navale), RAS manufacturers' protocols and test equipment are not specifically conceived for inspections on ships. In the Testing Facility the tests are performed and the robots' performances are evaluated according to metrics defined on the basis of the usual practice of ship and offshore structural inspections. Robotic units for ship inspection must be adapted to long-established procedures and methods in classification societies rules and international conventions. The human inspector is by definition'analog equipment' while the robotic unit is intrinsically 'digital' so inspection procedures need to be modified without losing essential content.

The Testing Facility and test protocols may be used for two purposes: carrying out inspections robotically and autonomously, and for training of operators to use robots, allowing for increasingly complex inspections.

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