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3 - HD-Shape Tether for Autonomous Non-Destructive Inspection Tools

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-20-C-0758
Agency Tracking Number: N204-A01-0440
Amount: $149,989.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N204-A01
Solicitation Number: 20.4
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-07-13
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-12-14
Small Business Information
301 1st Street SW Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011-1921
United States
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Andrew Boulanger
 (540) 557-5889
Business Contact
Phone: (540) 769-8430
Research Institution

Non-destructive testing and evaluation methods on complex structures for US Naval applications are challenging and labor intensive. Luna Innovations, teaming with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), will develop a 3D free space positional tracking system using Luna’s unique fiber optic HD-Shape technology for autonomous inspection tools. The system will be agnostic to the non-destructive sensor platform and only requires a single reference point for an entire inspection process. It is superior to existing positional systems since it does not depend on multiple encoders that require physical contact with the surface and suffer from error stack-up as the system traverses. In addition, the system does not require precision GPS or line-of-sight. A secondary benefit of HD-Shape is that positional data along the entire length of the tether can be used to identify potential entanglement points in low access or dangerous scenarios and allow for an autonomous system to avoid becoming stuck or damaged.   Luna will collaborate with the Navy and commercial partners to identify the placement of an HD-Shape sensor on robotic non-destructive inspection tool systems. The HD-Shape sensor will integrate into existing platforms utilizing a standardized protocol. Luna has already demonstrated this capability with manual inspection tools by converting HD-Shape positional data to incremental and absolute encoder inputs on a legacy manual inspection system. A completed field system will be capable of positional accuracies and measurement rates better than typical encoder systems. As the system develops it can be coupled to other technologies that use human-in-the-loop feedback like augmented or virtual reality tools. This is especially useful for increasingly complex structures and inspection methods.   To achieve the overall goals, during Phase I, Luna will build a rugged HD-Shape prototype 10 m long sensor for testing and demonstration purposes on a semi-autonomous inspection system at EPRI’s test facilities. The system will demonstrate the capability of being integrated into an existing semi-autonomous inspection system. At the end of the Phase I effort, a prototype sensor including all the necessary hardware and software will be complete and ready to continue development in the Phase II.

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

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