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Abstract

This paper reports on a 3-year applied research project dealing with several inspection scenarios of power plants and resulting in many robot prototypes and three main achievements. The project is a common effort between industry and university, including ALSTOM and researchers from the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. The goal is to generate knowledge and transfer technology to industry in the field of robot inspection. The method is to collect commercial scenarios, study them, make some exploratory prototypes, select the best scenarios, and develop enhanced prototypes for the most promising applications. The three most evolved robots are MagneBike for steam chest, AirGapCrawler for generators, and Tubulo for boiler tubes. The supporting technologies that have been developed are adhesion, locomotion, system integration, and localization. The paper describes the scenarios handled, the scientific knowledge generated, and the three best robotic systems. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.