Joint project AMIIGO

  Standing aircraft in hangar, a person sits in a hoist on the side of the aircraft. Copyright: © Lufthansa

Automatic multicopter-based indoor inspection of large surfaces


Key Info

Basic Information

01.08.2017 to 31.08.2019


For passenger transport in the aviation industry, regular inspection of aircraft fuselages and wings for damage after lightning strikes is mandatory. According to the current state of the art, this inspection is carried out as part of a visual inspection by specialist personnel. Cranes, winches and other lifting equipment are used to inspect the aircraft's surface area, which can be up to 4,400 m². The inspection is associated with a certain safety risk and a high financial cost due to the necessary personnel costs and long aircraft downtimes.


Project Goals and Methods

To increase the degree of automation of the inspection process, the AMIIGO research project is developing an overall concept in which a multicopter equipped with appropriate optical sensor technology automatically flies over the aircraft to be inspected and digitises the aircraft surface using suitable camera technology. Research and development activities at the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT) include automated path planning and trajectory generation, as well as the development of suitable control concepts for the multicopter. Another project-related research focus at IRT is highly accurate and robust indoor positioning using the Nikon iGPS system. To ensure robustness against short-term failures of the iGPS and to compensate for the inherent dead time of the measurement system, a sensor fusion is being developed and implemented at IRT which guarantees that accurate and high-frequency position data are always available, even during dynamic flight manoeuvres of the multicopter. Another research focus of the IRT is LiDAR-based object detection and trajectory replanning for the implementation of collision avoidance as an on-board safety concept for autonomous flight.


Innovations and Perspectives

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics Affairs and Climate Action Copyright: © BMWi

The project is a joint project of the Institute of Automatic Control and the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, called WZL, of RWTH Aachen University, which contribute to the realisation of the overall goal with corresponding research and development focuses. The innovative solutions for high-precision and robust indoor localisation, path planning and trajectory generation, flight control as well as LiDAR-based object detection and collision avoidance developed at IRT in the course of this research pave the way for multicopter-based automation solutions for inspection tasks, for example for the inspection of large-area components.

Project partner Associated partner