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UTEP Awarded 100K to Develop Crawler Robots to Aid with Aircraft Inspections

October 12, 2017

UTEP Awarded 100K to Develop Crawler Robots to Aid with Aircraft Inspections

UTEP Awarded 100K to Develop Crawler Robots to Aid with Aircraft Inspections

Lockheed Martin has funded a project in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering (IMSE) at the University of Texas at El Paso for a method to remotely inspect difficult-to-reach areas with high levels of quality requirements.

Currently, inspections are performed by individuals acquiring access to very tight areas of interest with potentially hazardous materials present. These personnel evaluate areas of interest and have cameras to document and relay information to people that need to see the inspection taking place. The proposed inspection system will integrate a machine vision system capable of automatically identifying and qualifying certain features and attributes with an autonomous or remotely controlled vehicle that is capable of accessing hard-to-reach areas of interest. The system's status and controls will be displayed on user interfaces by the person overseeing the inspection as well as by personnel observing the inspection. Objects not passing the inspection criteria will be identified and a record will be generated automatically in a report of the inspection. The video of the inspection will be archived for future reference.

The project currently funds four undergraduate students from the Department of Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and IMSE and a graduate student from IMSE.

The learning objectives of the project include using requirements solicitation and generation methods as well as integration, validation, and verification techniques to ensure that the right products are made and are made to meet requirements provided by the customer. Students will be exposed to technologies and disciplines outside of their field of study and learn how to collaborate effectively to develop a complex system. This will be the first phase of the project and will serve as a proof of concept to further refine and develop in future phases.

Dr. Bill Tseng, Chair of the IMSE, states that "This is a project that brings together many different backgrounds and exposes students to expertise outside of their own, much like what engineers will encounter when working in industry." The opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration coupled with the improved working conditions of inspection personnel makes the impact of this project significant in adding quality and consistency to a company that has been influential in progressing technology.


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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