Robots for Archeological Sites
Robots for Exploration, Digital Preservation and
Visualization of Archeological Sites
Monitoring and conservation of archaeological sites are important activities necessary to prevent damage or to
perform restoration on cultural heritage.
Standard techniques, like mapping and digitizing, are typically used to document the status of such sites.
While these task are normally accomplished manually by humans, this is not possible when dealing with
hard-to-access areas. For example, due to the possibility of structural collapses, underground tunnels like catacombs are
considered highly unstable environments. Moreover, they are full of radioactive gas radon that limits the presence of people only
for few minutes. The progress recently made in the artiﬁcial intelligence and robotics ﬁeld opened new possibilities for mobile
robots to be used in locations where humans are not allowed to enter.
The protection and the preservation of cultural heritage is of fundamental importance. Europe has a big wealth of
archaeological sites and, according to UNESCO, Italy is the country that counts the largest number in Europe, and
more in general in the world.
Recently, in the ﬁeld of artiﬁcial intelligence and robotics, there has been a deep progress in the development of autonomous robots that offer various services to their users.
For this reason, robots are one of the possible answers to the problem of preserving cultural heritage in areas where humans would be in serious danger.
Heron for Archaeology
The Heron v2018 project aims at using autonomous mobile robots to make faster, cheaper and safer the surveying of archaeological sites.
The main goals of are:
• To provide novel technology that supports the preservation of cultural heritage by allowing the acquisition of digital
models in hard-to-access environments;
• To extend the technology of autonomous navigation for robots designed to explore unknown underground environments such as caves and catacombs;
• To develop novel techniques to construct large 3D textured models of these poorly structured environments;
• To offer a cost-effective support for monitoring such sites and to enable comparative analysis that will allow to devise better preservation plans.
Robot as a Service
The "Archaeological DB Information System" is a cloud based application that allows to archive and analyze the data collected by the robot during the missions.
This platform is developed as a "Robot as a Service" (RaaS) and, as such, it is available through a web interface and dashboard.
RaaS offers a number of services related to cultural heritage sites, including:
documentation, archival, classiﬁcation, measurements and scientific metrics.