Remote Runway Survey System to Measure Soil Type, Load Bearing Capacity, Slope and Grades

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Special Operations Command
Contract: H92222-04-C-0005
Agency Tracking Number: S012-0050
Amount: $743,172.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: N/A
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
3915 Germany Lane, Beavercreek, OH, 45431
Duns: N/A
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Evan Zhang
 Research Director
 (937) 427-2892
Business Contact
 Ronald Fletcher
Title: V.P.
Phone: (937) 427-2892
Research Institution
Traditionally the Air Force Special Operations Forces (AFSOF) physically measures assault zone characteristics such as physical dimensions, magnetic orientation, coordinates, obstacles, elevation, weight-bearing capacity of the soil, soil composition,surface tolerances, clearances, and roughness, terminal navigation aid suitability, etc. It is labor intensive and the operator would be exposed to the enemy during the wartime. Therefore, in the phase-I research, an automatic remote runway survey systemusing a small robot with 5 sensors was developed by Zybron, Inc. Prototype demonstration was successfully conducted in Hurlburt, Florida and remarkable achievements were reached. However, the phase I research was only 6 months, not all problems could besolved in that short period. The objective of the phase II is to solve following remaining problems:(1) Sample the soil and measure the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) up to 3 feet (the depth reached in phase I was only 7 inches) for the whole runway of 4 kilometers within critical time. (2) Measure the obstacles and surface roughness and create a methodfor automatic obstacle avoidance. (3) Measure the runway size and slope. (4) Wireless send the measured data and images to the remote control center and analyze them to get a correct conclusion that if the site is suitable for use as an assault landingzone, and if so, what class of aircraft can land there.In order to solve above problems, a specially designed robot with proper motion control under GPS navigation and having obstacle avoidance ability will be furnished by the Government to cooperate with our 8 sensors. Detailed software source codes andprotocols, and hardware interfaces of the robot should be supplied. From our side, special cover will be added on the robot to reduce visible, infrared and Radar signatures. Electrical or mechanic dynamic cone penetrometer will be design to measure thesoil load bearing capability up to 3 feet, and at the same time soil samples will be collected. Stereo fusion camera using our unique low light level CCD and uncooled infrared sensors, and laser scanner using invisible laser diode will be designed and usedto detect the obstacles and measure the surface and undersurface conditions (holes, crests, voids, etc.) of the runway. Hardware and software will be developed to let the robot avoid obstacles and holes automatically. The laser scanner will share the laserdiode and the common optical aperture with the laser rangefinder, so the laser rangefinder can measure the runway size by using the pulsed mode. If the robot can find several reference points with known heights, the laser rangefinder also can measure therunway slope. Of course, we also can use an inclinometer to measure the slope quickly. A digital modem using spread spectrum and secret encryption codes will be designed to send the measured and compressed data 30-km away to the computer at the controlcenter to produce the 3-D runway map with size, slope, obstacles, unevenness, CBR, and other parameters by using the AutoCAD and image processing software.The new robot with GPS navigation will be delivered in 6 months, and the innovative remote assault zone survey system satisfying all SOW requirements will be demonstrated at the government selected site.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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