Nuclear Environments Inspection with Micro Aerial Vehicles: Algorithms and Experiments

Dinesh Thakur, Giuseppe Loianno, Wenxin Liu, Vijay Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this work, we address the estimation, planning, control and mapping problems to allow a small quadrotor to autonomously inspect the interior of hazardous damaged nuclear sites. These algorithms run onboard on a computationally limited CPU. We investigate the effect of varying illumination on the system performance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first fully autonomous system of this size and scale applied to inspect the interior of a full scale mock-up of a Primary Containment Vessel (PCV). The proposed solution opens up new ways to inspect nuclear reactors and to support nuclear decommissioning, which is well known to be a dangerous, long and tedious process. Experimental results with varying illumination conditions show the ability to navigate a full scale mock-up PCV pedestal and create a map of the environment, while concurrently avoiding obstacles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)2511-1256
ISSN (Electronic)2511-1264


  • Aerial robotics
  • Inspection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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