Buildings represent a large portion, approximately 40%, of all US energy use and carbon emissions. Significant savings can be found by conducting energy audits of the buildings, but the extensive training and cost of the audits prevent more widespread use. Automating the audit process with robots can greatly reduce the cost and provide more information to give better recommendations. This paper is the first in a series that proposes a system of autonomous robots that can conduct energy audits.
Specifically, this paper presents an overview of the autonomous system and details an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform which is used to perform automated lighting audits. Also, modifications to an existing exploration algorithm are proposed that will allow autonomous exploration of an unknown, GPS-denied environment while identifying and navigating to targets in real-time. This new algorithm is called SRT-Target. The UAV navigates to the lights, the target objects, in order to take additional measurements so that the light type can be determined. Movement of the UAV can be limited by a calibration factor β to account for sensor capabilities of the target sensor. Simulations of the algorithm show the exploration of the unknown area and the UAV moving to targets as they are identified.