Despite that Critical Infrastructures (CIs) security and surveillance are a growing concern for many countries and companies, Multi Robot Systems (MRSs) have not been yet broadly used in this type of facilities. This dissertation presents a novel study of the challenges arisen by the implementation of this type of systems and proposes solutions to specific problems.
First, a comprehensive analysis of different types of CIs has been carried out, emphasizing the influence of the different characteristics of the facilities in the design of a security and surveillance MRS. One of the most important needs for the surveillance of a CI is the detection of intruders. From a technical point of view this problem can be abstracted as equivalent to the Detection and Tracking
of Mobile Objects (DATMO). This dissertation proposes algorithms to solve this specific problem in a CI environment.
Using 3D range images of the environment as input data, two detection algorithms for ground robots have been developed. These detection algorithms provide a list of moving objects in the robot detection area. Direct image differentiation and computer vision techniques are used when the robot is static.
Alternatively, multi-layer ground reconstructions are compared to detect the dynamic objects when the robot is moving. Since CIs usually spread over large areas, it is very useful to incorporate aerial vehicles in the surveillance MRS. Therefore, a moving object detection algorithm for aerial vehicles has been also developed. This
algorithm compares the real optical flow obtained from a down-face oriented camera with an artificial optical flow computed using a RANSAC based homography matrix.
Two tracking algorithms have been developed to follow the moving objects trajectories. These algorithms can efficiently handle occlusions and crossings, as well
as exchange information among robots. The multirobot tracking can be applied to any type of communication structure: centralized, decentralized or a combination
of both. Even more, the developed tracking algorithms are independent of the detection algorithms and could be potentially used with other detection procedures
or even with static sensors, such as cameras.
In addition, using the 3D point clouds available to the robots, a relative localization algorithm has been developed to improve the position estimation of a given robot with observations from other robots.
All the developed algorithms have been extensively tested in different simulated CIs using the Webots robotics simulator. Furthermore, the algorithms have also been validated with real robots operating in real scenarios.
In conclusion, this dissertation presents a multirobot approach to Critical Infrastructure Surveillance, mainly focusing on Detecting and Tracking Dynamic Objects.