DVIDS – News – Robot Dogs and Drones 3D Mapping ‘Dream Ships’ with Laser-Based Sensors

Sounds like a science fiction movie, right? But it is not. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division, is testing laser-based sensors to perform battle damage assessment, repair, installation and retrofitting on robotic dogs or drones.

Engineers and scientists at NSWCPD’s Advanced Data Acquisition Prototyping Technology Virtual Environments (ADAPT.VE) are testing new applications for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to create 3D ship models in a “bubble” fleet of decommissioned ships at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The ADAPT.VE team provides research, expertise, development capabilities, and innovative engineering techniques along with unique materials, tools, and resources for a variety of maritime organizations. This team of engineers and researchers tackled pressing obsolescence issues and took on projects such as reverse engineering and prototyping in addition to 3D laser scanning of engines, docks and ships.

Last spring, a static training event was held aboard the decommissioned USS Boone at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The ADAPT.VE team was testing a new technology that incorporated 3D datasets using aerial images taken by drones, 3D laser scanning technology and a robot dog called Spot, developed by Boston Dynamics. The event was conducted as part of a LiDAR-focused megaproject funded by the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) program.

NISE was established by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretaries of War to provide a funding mechanism for research and development in Department of Defense laboratories. The goal of the program is to increase the internal technical capabilities of the workforce through research projects, technical training and other workforce development innovations. The NISE program also encourages creativity and stimulates the discovery of advanced science and technology; serves as a test bed for new concepts in research and development; and supports high-value, potentially high-risk research and development.

The cross-battle center collaboration, called the megaproject, involves the NSWCPD, NSWC Port Hueneme and Carderock Divisions, and the Pacific Naval Information Warfare Center.

Together, the war centers are working to develop 3D models of all ships from LiDAR scans. The 3D models will be used for battle damage assessment, repair, installation, modernization and other naval applications.

By using LiDAR technology to develop 3D ship models, the megaproject’s partners aim to minimize the need for engineering teams to travel to ships.

It will enable additional remote support, including virtual vessel inspections, reduced response times to breakdowns and maintenance issues faced by the fleet at sea.

“Embedding LiDAR into drones and robotic dogs allows for machine mapping of the scene,” explained Patrick Violante, team leader at ADAPT.VE Labs.

Lidar scans objects in 3D by shooting laser beams at them and then measuring their return time. This technology can be used to capture a large grid or cloud of data points and then combine scans from different perspectives to create an accurate 3D image of an object.

“Ultimately, our goal is to continuously provide our fleet and our personnel with the tools, resources and information to perform their missions more effectively and efficiently,” Violante said. “As we develop the technology, this concept will demonstrate the value of 3D scanning for battle damage assessment and repair and evaluate the ability of operational unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to perform critical roles in theater.”

“The former USS Boone (FFG-28) was preparing for a static explosion where they were sinking it for use as a coral reef. We saw this as a great opportunity to demonstrate new technology to demonstrate 3D laser metrology for battle damage assessment. We were able to initially scan the ship in an “as is” state. We will then have another opportunity to rescan the ship after the damaged state. We can then analyze the original data and the malicious data and perform a comparative analysis. This allowed us to test different technologies to capture data more efficiently and effectively,” Violante said.

Pass the rover! These dogs are here to stay. The war centers are testing both the Boston Dynamics Spot mobile robotic system and Ghost Robotics Quadrupedal Unmanned Vehicles (Q-UGVs) to explore advanced technology and enhance capabilities.

“We’re doing a lot of technological integration of image sensor packages to put the robot in situations where we really don’t want to put humans in it. These systems are designed to minimize human exposure,” Violante said.

“Imagine being able to see the components of a potentially hazardous situation in live 3D without having to survey the ship,” he said.

The collaboration with the ADAPT.VE Lab goes beyond a robotics testbed on a decommissioned ship, as the war centers’ primary goal is “a team working together to provide value for the Navy.”

Liberty Tech Bridge is in talks to share technology and resources, such as a stew fleet, a program designed to bring together regional government, industry and academia to expand an innovation-focused ecosystem that enables local members of all three sea systems. commands — Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command — to collaborate effectively with industry and academia in the Philly area — “innovation partners to increase collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation with leading technology companies and accelerate solutions for the warfighter said NSWCPD Commander Capt. Dana Simon during the Liberty Tech Bridge charter signing on May 3, 2022.

Mothball Fleet of Philadelphia

As US Navy ships become too old or too expensive to operate, they are taken out of active service, but they can still be useful for engineering research and development. Many of these are kept in reserve fleets around the country called Ghost Ships or Mothball Fleets. When a vessel is in reserve or “moored”, the main ideas are to keep the vessel afloat and in sufficient condition to quickly restart the vessel in case of an emergency.

One of the largest reserve or mothball fleets is in Philadelphia. It maintains several dozen stationary warships, including Ticonderoga-class cruisers, Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, Forrest Sherman-class destroyers, gunboats, and numerous supply ships. Most of these ships have been hit and must be destroyed. Having access to these vessels for engineering development presents an unprecedented opportunity.

NSWCPD Engineer Mike Lavery, who leads the Liberty Tech Bridge project, stated, “We have a Fiscal Year (FY)-23 program to provide space for industry and academia to evaluate technologies for Navy problem sets in the mothball fleet at the Navy Yard. The wide variety of ships in the Navy yard would allow these engineers to navigate these ships for algorithm experiments in all kinds of projects, not just robotics research.”

Violante said the purpose of the initial tests on Boone was to determine the adaptability of robotic dogs on a stationary ship.

“Could a robot pilot a ship, climb ladders, or handle logistics like moving materials? The biggest challenge is simulating the conditions on a ship at sea. We have stationary vessels in the basin; Our technology partners at NAWCAD Lakehurst have a deck motion ship simulator that simulates various sea states,” he said. “By sharing and improving technology with our Tech Bridge partners, we are developing our capabilities and technologies to remain outstanding leaders in the free world.”

Violante added: “Our vision for future naval power is one based on the faster development of unmanned, autonomous systems in vibrant partnership with industry and academia. We are looking for better ways to develop repeatable algorithms where we can take this technology, develop it and move it to our shipyards and regional maintenance centers. We are looking at the unmanned systems of the future. Our team’s knowledge and experience on the subject is immeasurable.”

“The NSWCPD continues to be a key player in this effort to maintain America’s preeminence. Our success is based on and built upon the extensive relationships we maintain,” said Violante.

The NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians and support personnel. The NSWCPD team engages in research and development, test and evaluation, procurement support, in-service and logistics engineering for non-nuclear vehicles, shipboard machinery systems, and related equipment and materiel for Navy surface ships and submarines. The NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cyber security for all shipboard systems.

Purchase date: 30.08.2022
Posted Date: 30.08.2022 11:05
Story ID: 428306
Location: USA

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