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IAI to Continue Development of an Autonomous Robotic Inspection System for Surface Defects in Exhaust Ducts

Inspecting exhaust ducts in low-observable (LO) aircraft is necessary to evaluate aircraft readiness and flight safety. However, current methods rely on manual inspections and are time consuming and error prone. Furthermore, next-generation aircraft may utilize ducts with confined spaces that are inaccessible to maintenance workers. Technology that can reduce inspection times, minimize errors and provide access to confined spaces will benefit the Air Force by increasing aircraft availability and reducing lifecycle maintenance costs. To address this need, IAI and its collaborator, Boulder Imaging, are working to develop ARIS, an Autonomous Robotic Inspection System for identifying and mapping surface defects in exhaust ducts. The key innovation is the integration of a self-localizing robot equipped with an optical imaging sensor and associated control and inspection software. The system provides autonomous control of the robot to enable full coverage of the duct surface. It automatically detects and characterizes defects in coatings and registers their location in the aircraft coordinate system. A sensor head prototype and algorithms for localization and defect detection have been already developed. Next, a robotic inspection system prototype targeted for a specific LO platform will be designed, built and demonstrated in a representative environment. This automated inspection tool will benefit military aircraft, commercial aircraft, as well as other industrial applications that require frequent inspection within small cavities and confined spaces.

About IAI:
Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) is a technology innovation company headquartered in Rockville, MD. We specialize in providing advanced technology solutions and R&D services to federal agencies, and corporations throughout the United States and internationally. Leveraging agile R&D processes, a multi-disciplinary collaborative environment, and its substantial intellectual property portfolio, IAI excels in developing concepts into market-focused products and customer-driven solutions. IAI’s core R&D areas include: Air Traffic Management, Big Data and Social Media Analytics, Control and Signal Processing, Cyber Security, Education and Training Technologies, Health Technologies, Modeling and Simulation, Networks and Communications, Robotics, and Sensor Systems. For more information on IAI, please visit

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