DOI: 10.3390/robotics13020023 ISSN: 2218-6581

A 3D World Interpreter System for Safe Autonomous Crane Operation

Frank Bart ter Haar, Frank Ruis, Bastian Thomas van Manen
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Optimization
  • Mechanical Engineering

In an effort to improve short-sea shipping in Europe, we present a 3D world interpreter (3DWI) system as part of a robotic container-handling system. The 3DWI is an advanced sensor suite combined with AI-based software and the communication infrastructure to connect to both the crane control and the shore control center. On input of LiDAR data and stereo captures, the 3DWI builds a world model of the operating environment and detects containers. The 3DWI and crane control are the core of an autonomously operating crane that monitors the environment and may trigger an emergency stop while alerting the remote operator of the danger. During container handling, the 3DWI scans for human activity and continuously updates a 3D-Twin model for the operator, enabling situational awareness. The presented methodology includes the sensor suite design, creation of the world model and the 3D-Twin, innovations in AI-detection software, and interaction with the crane and operator. Supporting experiments quantify the performance of the 3DWI, its AI detectors, and safety measures; the detectors reach the top of VisDrone’s leaderboard and the pilot tests show the safe autonomous operation of the crane.

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