Specifically, the 'Topside Drone' can detect corrosion and anomalies on the surfaces of a vessel's hull, saving time on surveys. In other words, it is able to detect and inspect material defects, corrosion, warping and other conditions plaguing naval vessels.
Thus, the drone flies in the area of the inspection, takes photographs and measurements to evaluate the situation and understand whether corrosion exists.
Lt. Rouben Azad, a student at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, who attended the demonstration commented
Corrosion is there all the time; elements like rain and seawater are constantly corroding a ship. I have been on ships where it is difficult for the human eye to identify corrosion. Through infrared imagery, the Topside Drone inspection technology can identify corrosion from 80 feet away.
In addition, a second payload of visible camera captures images that are geometrically similar to the digital model; Then these images are algorithmically inspected for corrosion using computer vision. As a result, inspection via a drone reduces the maintenance demand for sailors.
The computer vision algorithm analyzed the collected data and revealed significant corrosion all over the USS Midway, as a museum ship, it was a target-rich environment.
TechSolutions, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global’s rapid-response science and technology prototyping initiative, is the sponsor for this developing technology. Therefore, TechSolutions accepts requests directly from sailors on the deck plates and marines on the front lines and delivers prototype solutions within approximately 12 months.