Event: On 28 March 2023, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG) hosted a virtual forum on “Drones & Unmanned Systems in Maintenance”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to discuss the challenges and solutions, research and development, and implementation of drones and unmanned systems in support of DoD sustainment.
Welcome: Ray Langlais, OSD-MR/LMI, welcomed everyone to the forum and provided a brief introduction of the presenters and emphasized the significance, challenges, and potential impact that drones and unmanned systems innovations could have within the DoD sustainment community.
Administrative: There were 63 people in attendance on the open forum. The presentations, along with questions and answers, were conducted through Zoom.Gov which also offered a chat capability for comments and Q&A.
Overview – Insights and Experiences with Drones – Mark Billinski (NIWC-Pacific) provided an overview of sUAS requirements and experiences using UAS technology in ship inspections, object detection, and battle damage assessment and repair (BDAR). He discussed the challenges obtaining interim flight clearance and obtaining commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) cybersecurity waivers. He concluded with a description of collaboration efforts with the public shipyards and obtaining a memorandum of agreement.
SkyCar – “Drone Swarm / Fleet Management – for Maintenance / Inspection Operations” – Aaron Benedek (Nekotronic) discussed how limited adaptability, limitations to scalability and lack of intelligent flight paths have hindered the use of UAVs for maintenance and inspection operations. He described how Skycar drone swarm/fleet management capabilities could be employed to support real-time non-stationary asset damage assessment, support more UAVs and UUVs to perform coordinated and autonomous 360-degree scans using intelligent flights paths. He described collision avoidance and autonomous navigation capabilities in a modular architecture which allows for integration into existing systems. They have recently successfully completed their first field tests with the City of Yokohama, Japan.
Autonomous sUAS Inspections – Charles Coccia (Boeing) described how Boeing is leveraging advancements in sUAS capabilities and next generation networks like 5/6G, LTE and high-speed Wi-Fi to allow seamless integration of drone systems and adapting them to aircraft inspection applications. He provided a drone system overview and detailed how the automated damage detection software (ADDS) uses an algorithm to assist in analyzing exterior aircraft images from drones or high-definition cameras, detecting damage such as hail, lightning, bird strikes, or corrosion and aiding in planning for repair/deferral actions. Charles concluded with a list of training and demonstrations planned for 2023.
Integrated Air/Ground System for Inventory Monitoring – Dr. Stephen Balakirsky (Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) stated that GTRI conducts basic and applied research, design, development and prototyping of autonomous systems and system-of-systems architectures, including collaborative autonomous swarms, multi-domain systems-of-systems, and hybrid manned/unmanned configurations. He described several projects GTRI is working on to include an unmanned vehicle that can be used to conduct equipment inventory and inspection in tightly packed warehouses or outside, with the ability to detect leaks, underinflated tires, corrosion, and other faults.
Q&A – A Q&A occurred after each briefer finished their presentation. The slides cleared for public release will be posted on the JTEG website with these minutes.
Closing Comments: Ray Langlais thanked the presenters and participants for their attendance and all the work being done to support the development and use of drones and unmanned systems in support of DoD sustainment operations.
- Obtain copies of remaining cleared presentations once they are approved to post to a public website, and post to the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/.
Next JTEG Meeting: The next scheduled JTEG virtual forum is 25 April 2023, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Augmented / Virtual / Mixed Reality”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, email@example.com, (571) 633-8019