Counter Tunnel Project
SPACE AND NAVAL WARFARE SYSTEMS CENTER PACIFIC SAN DIEGO CA
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The prototype counter-tunnel system developed under this effort is composed of a robotic mobility platform, perception sensor payload, onboard autonomy capability, command and control operator unit, and deployment apparatus. The overall design was driven by the requirement to deploy the system into a tunnel through a 20-centimeter-diameter borehole. This requirement posed many design and packaging challenges for the perception payload and mobility platform in order to fit through the narrow borehole opening and still be able to perform the mission in a GPS-denied environment. The Counter Tunnel project presented a unique prototype UGV mobility platform capable of insertion and retrieval through the 20- centimeter-diameter borehole, climbing 30-centimeter vertical steps, and crossing 30-centimeter gaps. This project also demonstrated a perception system capable of performing obstacle detection, 3D mapping, and GPS-denied localization with an error of less than 0.1 after traveling autonomously for 900 meters through a tunnel-like environment. This project has increased the technology readiness level of various components of the counter-tunnel systems platforms, sensors, communications, and payloads and has advanced the work in GPS-denied navigation, 3D perception, and mapping. The prototype evaluations and expertise gained from this work will be key to providing robust and deployable systems to explore tunnels, caves, mines, and similar environments.
- Navigation and Guidance