Autonomous Hull Inspection
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-182
Topic Title: Autonomous Hull Inspection
Proposal No.: N082-182-1057
Firm: SeaRobotics Corporation
15852 Mercantile Court
Suite 2
Jupiter, Florida 33478
Contact: Kenneth Holappa
Phone: (561) 627-2676
Web Site:
Abstract: This proposal meets the goals of the solicitation topic N08-182 through the leveraging of technology already developed with funding from the ONR and direction of the NAVSEA Carderock Division Naval Surface Warfare Center. Through the use of the existing HullBUG platform combined with third party sensor systems, a comprehensive autonomous inspection system may be developed in a relatively short period of time that is cost effective. The HullBUG vehicle is a small (<30kg) tethered or tetherless vehicle that crawls on the underwater surface of a ship. The vehicle stays attached to the ship using a patented non-contact negative pressure device and uses soft rubber tires that do not mar or scratch the hull coating. Ship hull inspection with the HullBUG and the sensor suite allows for the assessment of the hull structure, investigation into corrosion, determination of the level of biofouling and the discovery of objects or threats that may have been attached to the hull by hostile parties. The system proposed herein provides the platform and the sensing technologies for accomplishing inspections while at sea or while moored in port.
Benefits: The benefits of this research are multifaceted, and span both commercial and military markets. The vehicle presented is capable of providing an enabling technology for more cost effective and environmentally friendly ship hull coatings which are biocide free. Hull cleaning markets are extensive in both commercial and government markets. As an inspection system the autonomous nature of the system and the simplicity associated with on-hull transport, make this system cost effective and easily deployable by operators with minimal training. Hull, tank, dam, structural inspection are all extensive markets for this technology. Leveraging existing funding for similar technology will enable this project to proceed at a rapid rate, leading to early market introduction.