Sensor Products for Enterprises Creating Technological Opportunities in Remote Sensing (SPECTORS) is a four year long innovation program with 20 Dutch and German small-and-medium sized enterprises. The goal of the project is to exploit the market potential of civil drone technology through sensor innovations for remote sensing and remote monitoring.

Role of RaM in the project

The main role of RAM is the technological development of an aerial robot capable of establishing a robust mechanical surface contact for remote inspection.

Drones are already currently used for visual inspection of many infrastructures in the civil, petro-chemical, off-shore and other industries. This allows the observation of remotely located structures under test without the need to reach them in person. Many of these remote sensing applications are operational and economically successful.

However, some inspections require physical contact with the surfaces to apply non-destructive testing (NDT). Such sensing modalities are for example used to measure the thickness of coatings, quality of the surface and other physical states which cannot be measured remotely or not accurately enough.

Sensors which are used can be based on ultrasound, eddy currents, induction or other methodologies, but they all require physical contact with the surface. Investigators need to physically reach the remote locations of interest by building scaffold or with cranes and these approaches are costly and dangerous. The possibility to get in physical contact with the remote surface via a drone has an incredible market value and would drastically reduce costs and increase safety.


The inspection tasks that the aerial robot will perform are subject to interaction with the environment. Interaction is characterized by the exchange of energy between the robot and the environment. Thus to control the interaction means to control the dynamic relation between the force and velocity of the end-effector not just one of the two. The interaction problem is addressed in the context of the port-Hamiltonian framework.

Current activities

· Software and hardware development of an aerial robot platform for interaction

· Modeling and simulation of aerial robots interacting with structures

· Development of interaction control algorithms

· Development of state estimation algorithms for outdoor flight

We are always looking for enthusiastic motivated roboticists (BSc or MSc) willing to join the aerial robotics community. Interested students can contact Ramy Hashem (r.a.m.rashadhashem@utwente.nl) for available assignments.

Project lead

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prof.dr.ir. Stefano Stramigioli


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Ramy Hashem MSc