The increasing competitiveness in marine operations creates a need for new system concepts that introduce high technology value added products, facilitate the processes involved and minimize the downtimes. The need, thus, lies not only in incorporating the technological means so far available, but in changing the way the corresponding authorities stand against the challenges at hand.
MINOAS project proposes reengineering of the overall vessel-inspection methodology, by introducing an innovative system concept that incorporates state of the art technologies, but at the same time formulates a new standardization of the overall inspection process. Through holistic approach, MINOAS proposes the development of a new infrastructure that substitutes human personnel by high locomotion enabled robots and "teleports" the human inspector from the vessel's hold to a control room with virtual reality properties. The human's perceptual abilities are enhanced through the utilization of high resolution tools (eg. sensors) and are augmented through the parallel processing property provided by MINOAS. Following the centralized control scheme adopted in similar distributed control methodologies (SCADA), the number and the sequence of the tasks required is rearranged and the overall inspection procedure is brought in alignment with the current tendency adopted in similar inspection, exploration and surveillance tasks.
The proposed innovative system concept, considers the assembly of a robot fleet with advanced locomotion abilities and sets of tools that are dedicated to the tasks attached to the inspection process, the development of control techniques and algorithms that provide a semi-autonomous nature to the operation of the robot-fleet and a hierarchical controller that realize the virtual environment for the human inspector and adds newly developed toolboxes enabling on-line processing of the harvested data and operate as a Decision Support System in the aid of the inspector.