GECKO: Agile and Dexterous Robot for Maintenance of Ship Tanks

Period of Performance: 05/03/2016 - 05/03/2018

$979K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Dr, Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Navy ship tank maintenance and damage control surveys are expensive and labor-intensive endeavors that regularly expose maintenance crews to significant environmental and safety hazards. To address this problem, Intelligent Automation Inc. (IAI) is developing GECKO, an agile and dexterous robot designed to meet all requirements for inspection and maintenance of ship tanks and voids. For mobility, GECKO combines magnetic and vacuum crawler technology with IAI's legged robot locomotion technology to traverse unstructured ship tank environments. For manipulation, GECKO leverages IAI's state-of-the-art Multi-Arm Robot Control System (MARCS) technology to enable a remote operator to perform dexterous inspection and maintenance tasks. For adjustable autonomy, GECKO utilizes advanced localization technology to enable semi-autonomous navigation and manipulation behaviors to reduce task execution time and operator workload. In Phase I, a preliminary GECKO hardware prototype was designed, built and tested. The ability of the robot to traverse challenging surface contours encountered in ship tanks was demonstrated, including concave corners and 180-degree convex edges. In Phase II, an enhanced GECKO prototype will be built and tested in a variety of ship tanks. The GECKO robotic maintenance system will improve safety, reduce cost and reduce manpower requirements associated with the maintenance of Navy ship tanks.