Architecture for a mobile robotic camera positioning system for photogrammetric data acquisition in hydroelectric tunnels

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University of New Brunswick


The structural condition of hydroelectric tunnels is important to the overall performance, safety, and longevity of generating stations. Significant effort is required to inspect, monitor, and maintain these tunnels. Photogrammetry is an effective method of collecting highly accurate visual and spatial data. However, it also presents the complex challenge of positioning a camera at thousands of difficult to reach locations throughout the large and varying-diameter tunnels. A robotic semi-automated camera positioning system was developed to enhance the collection of images within hydroelectric tunnels for photogrammetric inspections. A continuous spiral image network was developed to optimize the collection speed within the bounds of photography and capture-in-motion constraints. The positioning system and image network optimization reduce the time and effort required, while providing the ability to adapt to different and varying tunnel diameters. To demonstrate, over 28,000 images were captured at a ground sampling distance of 0.4 mm in the 822 m long concrete-lined section of the Grand Falls Generating Station.