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Investigation of future applications of self-engineering using drones

Naz, A., Brooks, S. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5712-7358 & Roy, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-5491-7437 (2022). Investigation of future applications of self-engineering using drones. Materials Today: Proceedings, doi: 10.1016/j.matpr.2022.03.717


Self-engineering (SE) systems aim to autonomously respond to a loss of function and take action to return functionality. Recently there have been a number of demonstrations of SE using multi-rotor drones to inspect and repair systems (such as repairing potholes), though many of these systems do not meet all the requirements of a SE system. This research identifies and explores new ideas for SE where drones could be utilised. Five ideas were successfully identified from consultations with experts and authors. The five ideas created are: 1) self-repair in enclosed spaces of ships, 2) self-cleaning roads, 3) self-repairing air conditioning systems, 4) autonomous underwater pipe repair, and 5) self-repair of damaged building cladding. Possible inspection and repair actions that a drone could perform are identified for each proposed system. From a short industry survey and further interviews, idea 1) (self-repair in enclosed spaces) was identified as the most promising for future development. The potential cost of building the system is discussed at the end of the paper; however, detailed cost estimation is too uncertain because of the difficulty in estimating the cost of developing autonomous capabilities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Self-engineering, Self-repair, DronesExpert interviews, Costing
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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