It is called "Testing facility", and is a test environment, a sort of laboratory that reproduces parts of ships. It's designed to test the use of robots for on-board inspections.
It has just been born at the University of Genoa as part of the European ROBINS project (ROBotics technology for INspection of Ships) which has as its objective to implementation of a Testing Facility to favor the technological transfer of robotic technologies; it can provide concrete support to inspectors in difficult or dangerous on-board environments.
In the Testing facility the parts of the ships are reconstructed using pieces recovered from the repair work: it can be the cargo hold of a bulk carrier, a double bottom, a double side, a ballast box - reconstructed with the typical defects and degradation phenomena of a shipbuilding, such as corrosion or mechanical damage. And in that environment the inspector robots are made to move.
The University of Genoa participates with the laboratories MaSTeL (Marine Structures Testing Lab) and DREAMS (Drives and Experimental Automation for Marine Systems Lab) of the Department of Naval, Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering (DITEN) of the Polytechnic School.
San Giorgio del Porto (which is also a member of the advisory board of the ROBINS project) contributes to the realization of the models, making available most of the material that it recovers in the repair work. The first phase includes on-board tests, the second is dedicated to specific tests to verify particular characteristics of robotic platforms.
Thanks to the Testing Facility and the test protocols developed during the project, it will be possible to certify the capabilities of a robot for the execution of specific types of inspections and on the other it will be possible to use the same Testing Facility for the training of operators and the development of innovative robots to perform increasingly complex inspections.