Foreign Object Debris Monitoring & Cleaning Autonomous Systems
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Forces Central Command

Posted on May 14, 2019 | Completed on May 14, 2019 | By: Scott E. Armistead, Daniel Whipp, Christiaan Gribble, Shawn Recker

What autonomous or remotely-operated systems can be used for monitoring and cleaning foreign object debris from a runway?

The Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) was asked to identify technologies to identify technologies that can detect foreign object debris (FOD) entering jet engine inlets or impacting jet engine turbine blades, as well as FOD barrier technologies that only permits debris to leave the designated area and not return. DSIAC staff and subject matter experts (SMEs) searched for autonomous or remotely-operated systems that can be used for detection and monitoring of foreign object debris (FOD) from a runway. The search focus was on technologies that are mature enough to provide short-term impact on enhancing operation of Department of Defense (DoD) base runways and could be integrated into advanced automated Facility Related Control Systems (FRCS). DSIAC staff looked at both subscription based technological information as well as open source material to determine what technologies existed that could accomplish this task. DSIAC also issued a call for information on advanced technologies that could facilitate FOD detection. As responses were collected, they were reviewed, summarized, and then provided to the inquirer (information on seven systems was provided). Finally DSIAC SMEs discussed advanced enabling technologies that should be considered for further exploration. These included artificial intelligence (AI); Internet of Things (IoT) enabled sensors; automated image and video analytics supported by machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL); computer vision based on massively parallel computing architectures; machine vision; advanced user interfaces (UI), supercomputing (intelligence) on the edge; multi-spectral/hyperspectral sensors; and use of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles.

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