GECKO: Agile and Dexterous Robot for Maintenance of Ship Tanks
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-042
Topic Title: GECKO: Agile and Dexterous Robot for Maintenance of Ship Tanks
Proposal No.: N141-042-0711
Firm: Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Drive
Suite 400
Rockville, Maryland 20855
Contact: David Handelman
Phone: (301) 294-4252
Web Site:
Abstract: Navy ship tank maintenance is an expensive and labor-intensive endeavor, costing the Navy an estimated $32M per year and regularly exposing maintenance crews to significant environmental and safety hazards. To address this problem, Intelligent Automation Inc. (IAI) proposes to develop GECKO, an agile and dexterous robot capable of meeting all requirements for the cleaning, inspection and maintenance of ship tanks. GECKO leverages key existing IAI capabilities in robotic mobility, manipulation, and autonomy. For adaptive mobility, GECKO will combine magnetic crawler technology with legged robot locomotion concepts to traverse unstructured ship tank environments. For manipulation, GECKO will leverage IAI's state-of-the-art Multi-Arm Robot Control System (MARCS) technology, currently being applied to the Navy's Advanced EOD Robotic System, to enable a remote operator to easily perform dexterous cleaning, inspection and maintenance tasks. For adjustable autonomy, GECKO will utilize advanced localization technology to enable point-to-point navigation and semi-autonomous manipulation behaviors to reduce task execution time and operator workload. In Phase I, a preliminary design and simulation of the GECKO system will be developed. Representative cleaning, inspection and maintenance tasks will be performed using existing robot hardware. In Phase II, GECKO prototypes will be built and tested in a variety of ship tank representative environments.
Benefits: The GECKO robotic maintenance system will significantly reduce the cost and manpower requirements associated with cleaning, inspecting and maintaining Navy ship tanks, while increasing the safety of performing these tasks. The GECKO system and its compelling economic benefits are directly applicable to the vast worldwide commercial shipping market.