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About

Hi!

I'm a senior researcher at Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS) at INESC TEC.

I have received a MS.c. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) in 2005, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of FEUP, Portugal, in 2014.

I'm being involved in several R&D projects for the last 7 years (related with mobile robotic, intelligent systems and autonomous platforms) as well as in some partnerhips with the industry. Moreover, I'm the principal author of several articles in top-ranked journals of robotics and computer vision.

Currently, my research interests include artificial intelligence, robotics, visual motion perception, motion analysis, optical flow, unsupervised segmentation, 3D reconstructions and underwater imaging.

Interest
Topics
Details

Details

009
Publications

2022

Application of a Design for Excellence Methodology for a Wireless Charger Housing in Underwater Environments

Authors
Pereira, PNDAD; Campilho, RDSG; Pinto, AMG;

Publication
MACHINES

Abstract
A major effort is put into the production of green energy as a countermeasure to climatic changes and sustainability. Thus, the energy industry is currently betting on offshore wind energy, using wind turbines with fixed and floating platforms. This technology can benefit greatly from interventive autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to assist in the maintenance and control of underwater structures. A wireless charger system can extend the time the AUV remains underwater, by allowing it to charge its batteries through a docking station. The present work details the development process of a housing component for a wireless charging system to be implemented in an AUV, addressed as wireless charger housing (WCH), from the concept stage to the final physical verification and operation stage. The wireless charger system prepared in this research aims to improve the longevity of the vehicle mission, without having to return to the surface, by enabling battery charging at a docking station. This product was designed following a design for excellence (DfX) and modular design philosophy, implementing visual scorecards to measure the success of certain design aspects. For an adequate choice of materials, the Ashby method was implemented. The structural performance of the prototypes was validated via a linear static finite element analysis (FEA). These prototypes were further physically verified in a hyperbaric chamber. Results showed that the application of FEA, together with well-defined design goals, enable the WCH optimisation while ensuring up to 75% power efficiency. This methodology produced a system capable of transmitting energy for underwater robotic applications.

2021

Multi-domain inspection of offshore wind farms using an autonomous surface vehicle

Authors
Campos, DF; Matos, A; Pinto, AM;

Publication
SN APPLIED SCIENCES

Abstract
AbstractThe offshore wind power industry is an emerging and exponentially growing sector, which calls to a necessity for a cyclical monitoring and inspection to ensure the safety and efficiency of the wind farm facilities. Thus, the emersed (aerial) and immersed (underwater) scenarios must be reconstructed to create a more complete and reliable map that maximizes the observability of all the offshore structures from the wind turbines to the cable arrays, presenting a multi domain scenario.This work proposes the use of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) to map both domains simultaneously. As such, it will produce a multi-domain map through the fusion of navigational sensors, GPS and IMU, to localize the vehicle and aid the registration process for the perception sensors, 3D Lidar and Multibeam echosounder sonar. The performed experiments demonstrate the ability of the multi-domain mapping architecture to provide an accurate reconstruction of both scenarios into a single representation using the odometry system as the initial seed to further improve the map with data filtering and registration processes. An error of 0.049 m for the odometry estimation is observed with the GPS/IMU fusion for simulated data and 0.07 m for real field tests. The multi-domain map methodology requires an average of 300 ms per iteration to reconstruct the environment, with an error of at most 0.042 m in simulation.

2021

A Modular Inductive Wireless Charging Solution for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Authors
Agostinho, LR; Ricardo, NC; Silva, RJ; Pinto, AM;

Publication
2021 IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AUTONOMOUS ROBOT SYSTEMS AND COMPETITIONS (ICARSC)

Abstract
In recent years, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have gained prominence in the most varied fields of application of underwater missions. The most common solution for recharging their batteries still implies removing them from the water, which is exceptionally costly. The use of Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) technologies allows to mitigate the associated costs and to extend the vehicles' operation time. In consequence, a prototype has been developed, whose objective is to integrate commercially available IPT technologies, while allowing the employment by most of the AUVs. The prototype is a funnel structure and its counterpart aimed to be fixed to a docking station and the AUV respectively. When coupled, it enables the batteries to recharge by electromagnetic induction. Energy transmission has been tested, resulting in encouraging results. This particular solution achieved over 90% efficiency during underwater experiments. The next objective will be to develop a commercial version of the prototype, that allows a direct, practical and effective use of wireless charging technologies within this particular scenario.

2021

A 3-D Lightweight Convolutional Neural Network for Detecting Docking Structures in Cluttered Environments

Authors
Pereira, MI; Leite, PN; Pinto, AM;

Publication
MARINE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY JOURNAL

Abstract
The maritime industry has been following the paradigm shift toward the automation of typically intelligent procedures, with research regarding autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) having seen an upward trend in recent years. However, this type of vehicle cannot be employed on a full scale until a few challenges are solved. For example, the docking process of an ASV is still a demanding task that currently requires human intervention. This research work proposes a volumetric convolutional neural network (vCNN) for the detection of docking structures from 3-D data, developed according to a balance between precision and speed. Another contribution of this article is a set of synthetically generated data regarding the context of docking structures. The dataset is composed of LiDAR point clouds, stereo images, GPS, and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) information. Several robustness tests carried out with different levels of Gaussian noise demonstrated an average accuracy of 93.34% and a deviation of 5.46% for the worst case. Furthermore, the system was fine-tuned and evaluated in a real commercial harbor, achieving an accuracy of over 96%. The developed classifier is able to detect different types of structures and works faster than other state-of-the-art methods that establish their performance in real environments.

2021

Advancing Autonomous Surface Vehicles: A 3D Perception System for the Recognition and Assessment of Docking-Based Structures

Authors
Pereira, MI; Claro, RM; Leite, PN; Pinto, AM;

Publication
IEEE ACCESS

Abstract
The automation of typically intelligent and decision-making processes in the maritime industry leads to fewer accidents and more cost-effective operations. However, there are still lots of challenges to solve until fully autonomous systems can be employed. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has played a major role in this paradigm shift and shows great potential for solving some of these challenges, such as the docking process of an autonomous vessel. This work proposes a lightweight volumetric Convolutional Neural Network (vCNN) capable of recognizing different docking-based structures using 3D data in real-time. A synthetic-to-real domain adaptation approach is also proposed to accelerate the training process of the vCNN. This approach makes it possible to greatly decrease the cost of data acquisition and the need for advanced computational resources. Extensive experiments demonstrate an accuracy of over 90% in the recognition of different docking structures, using low resolution sensors. The inference time of the system was about 120ms on average. Results obtained using a real Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) demonstrated that the vCNN trained with the synthetic-to-real domain adaptation approach is suitable for maritime mobile robots. This novel AI recognition method, combined with the utilization of 3D data, contributes to an increased robustness of the docking process regarding environmental constraints, such as rain and fog, as well as insufficient lighting in nighttime operations.

Supervised
thesis

2021

Sistema inteligente de carregamento sem fios para robôs móveis marítimos

Author
Andreia da Rocha Seabra

Institution
UP-FEUP

2021

Novos processos de gestão logística na indústria de equipamentos eletrónicos

Author
Luís Simões Neves

Institution
UP-FEUP

2020

A Machine Learning Approach for Predicting Docking-Based Structures

Author
Maria Inês Rodrigues Pereira

Institution
UP-FEUP

2020

Close-range Localization Based on Natural Features for Autonomous Surface Vehicles in Offshore Wind Farms

Author
Rafael Marques Claro

Institution
UP-FEUP

2020

Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning for Distributed Perception Systems in Maritime Environments

Author
Maria Inês Rodrigues Pereira

Institution
UP-FEUP