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Dam Inspection Artificial Intelligence System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DESC0020866
Agency Tracking Number: 0000251686
Amount: $199,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 13b
Solicitation Number: DEFOA0002146
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-06-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-03-28
Small Business Information
Torrance, CA 90501
United States
DUNS: 153865951
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Shahzad Khalid
 (310) 320-3088
Business Contact
 Keith Baker
Phone: (310) 320-3088
Research Institution

Successful applications that improve the operational safety and value of dams are sought. The failure of dams can be prevented by early warning systems that predict problems through detailed inspections of dam structure. However, current methods of frequent detailed inspections are costly and impractical. Applications of new emerging technologies are needed to deploy an economical, automated inspection system to enhance the performance and value of hydropower systems. The proposed dam inspection artificial intelligence system uses a small unmanned aerial vehicle to perform regular automated safety and security inspections. Recent advancements and the availability of small unmanned aerial vehicles along with the advancement of flight control methods and image analysis will be leveraged to ensure the proposed system is a practical and economical solution that improves data accuracy, availability, and overall value to enhance the operational safety of dams. During Phase I, the concept, design approach, and a proof-of-concept prototype will be developed. The landscape of the system will be defined, establishing firm characteristics of the data needed to show the proposed system’s feasibility. Limitations of the application will be documents and the commercial potential researched. A preliminary design of the testing equipment will be prepared, and the training requirements to use the proposed system will be indicated. The system’s applicability to the broad hydropower/riverine system, pervasiveness of applicability, and alternate solutions that currently exist will be clearly defined to articulate the value proposition beyond the state of the art. The Phase I final technical report will include details of the proposed system’s techniques, a determination of the feasibility for Phase II development, and a path forward to commercialization. The proposed system will have direct application in the safety inspection of dams and other public structures. Due to its low-operating cost, it will enable regular inspections of dams and structures to flag unsafe situations and summon preventive maintenance. In addition, this technology can be deployed on smart intersections to obtain a bird’s-eye view of traffic for traffic awareness and management. It can also be applied to a variety of public safety and construction projects.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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