Application of ultrasonic guided waves to robotic occupancy grid mapping

Tabatabaeipour, Morteza and Trushkevych, Oksana and Dobie, Gordon and Edwards, Rachel S. and McMillan, Ross and MacLeod, Charles and O'Leary, Richard and Dixon, Steven and Gachagan, Anthony and Pierce, Stephen G. (2022) Application of ultrasonic guided waves to robotic occupancy grid mapping. Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 163. 108151. ISSN 0888-3270 (

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This paper evaluates the benefits of using ultrasonic guided waves for the mapping of a structure, when implemented on a mobile magnetic robotic platform. It considers the specific problem of mapping geometric features using the guided ultrasonic waves, which enables the localisation of edges and/or the welded joints. Shear Horizontal (SH) guided waves generated by Electro-Magnetic Acoustic Transducers (EMATs) are used for mapping steel samples with a nominal thickness of 10 mm. A Bayesian mapping technique (Occupancy grid mapping) was used to map the boundaries of an irregular sample in a pseudo-pulse-echo mode. The principle is demonstrated in both simulation and laboratory-based experiments. It is shown that the proposed mapping algorithm successfully estimates the position of a sample's edges. Experimentally, a range accuracy of < 1.7 mm (1σ) was achieved on a 1 × 2 m sample using miniaturised EMATs operating at a wavelength of 22 mm.