Autonomous Hull Inspection
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-182
Topic Title: Autonomous Hull Inspection
Proposal No.: N082-182-0790
Firm: SET Associates Corporation
1005 N. Glebe Rd.
Suite 400
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Contact: Kathy Kielmeyer
Phone: (703) 738-6203
Web Site:
Abstract: Ships and submarines require periodic inspections of their hulls for two reasons: in order to detect and locate potential threats to the ship as well as the identification and quantification of a variety of factors relating to the material condition of the ship. These include the existence of threats such as limpet mines, and the condition and fitness for service of both the freeboard and underwater hull paint system, the presence of corrosion and the condition of the antifouling coatings, and the running gear of the ship (propellers, rudders, shafts, struts, suctions and anodes). Threat detection and neutralization is a primary function of keeping the Navy fleet safe and ready to serve, and the acquisition of maintenance related information will assist maintenance planners, port engineers and type commanders in executing maintenance at the required periodicity and at the lowest possible cost. Our eventual goal is to develop and demonstrate a prototype autonomous hull inspection system for both force protection and maintenance evaluation. The objective of Phase I is to demonstrate the feasibility of such a system. This will include generation of a concept of operations projecting the capabilities of the system, detailed technical descriptions of major components and subsystems, descriptions of interface requirements, and concept drawings.
Benefits: We anticipate that one of the outcomes of the Phase II project will be a workable Littoral Combat Ship inspection system. However, many other organizations within the federal government are also prime customers for this technology, including the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. SET will seek to leverage those opportunities by commercializing the resulting system for large scale deployment. Commercial non-DoD applications exists as well, especially in the shipping industry and the pleasure cruise industry. We expect that demand for these systems will only expand as the sensors become more capable, the vehicles become increasingly autonomous, and the costs drop.