MHYRO: Modular HYbrid RObot for contact inspection and maintenance in oil & gas plants
In this paper, we propose a new concept of robot which is hybrid, including aerial and crawling subsystems and an arm, and also modular with interchangeable crawling subsystems for different pipe configurations, since it has been designed to cover most industrial oil & gas end-users’ requirements. The robot has the same ability than aerial robots to reach otherwise inaccessible locations, but makes the inspection more efficient, increasing operation time since crawling requires less energy than flying, and achieving better accuracy in the inspection. It also integrates safety-related characteristics for operating in the potentially explosive atmosphere of a refinery, being able to immediately interrupt the inspection if a hazardous situation is detected and carry the sensible parts such as batteries and electronic devices away as soon as possible. The paper presents the design of this platform in detail and shows the feasibility of the whole system performing indoor experiments.