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27 May 2005 Under-vehicle autonomous inspection through undercarriage signatures
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Increased threats to gate security have caused recent need for improved vehicle inspection methods at security checkpoints in various fields of defense and security. A fast, reliable system of under-vehicle inspection that detects possibly harmful or unwanted materials hidden on vehicle undercarriages and notifies the user of the presence of these materials while allowing the user a safe standoff distance from the inspection site is desirable. An autonomous under-vehicle inspection system would provide for this. The proposed system would function as follows: A low-clearance tele-operated robotic platform would be equipped with sonar/laser range finding sensors as well as a video camera. As a vehicle to be inspected enters a checkpoint, the robot would autonomously navigate under the vehicle, using algorithms to detect tire locations for weigh points. During this navigation, data would be collected from the sonar/laser range finding hardware. This range data would be used to compile an impression of the vehicle undercarriage. Once this impression is complete, the system would compare it to a database of pre-scanned undercarriage impressions. Based on vehicle makes and models, any variance between the undercarriage being inspected and the impression compared against in the database would be marked as potentially threatening. If such variances exist, the robot would navigate to these locations and place the video camera in such a manner that the location in question can be viewed from a standoff position through a TV monitor. At this time, manual control of the robot navigation and camera control can be taken to imply further, more detailed inspection of the area/materials in question. After-market vehicle modifications would provide some difficulty, yet with enough pre-screening of such modifications, the system should still prove accurate. Also, impression scans that are taken in the field can be stored and tagged with a vehicles's license plate number, and future inspections of that vehicle can be compared to already screened and cleared impressions of the same vehicle in order to search for variance.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Edward Schoenherr and Bill Smuda "Under-vehicle autonomous inspection through undercarriage signatures", Proc. SPIE 5804, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII, (27 May 2005);


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