The capacity through the use of robots with on board visual, NBC and HAZMAT sensors to rapidly and continuously screen convoys and staged exposed assets would be a force multiplier and measurably improve base and force protection at both inbound and outbound DOD and commercial facilities. This paper chronicles our experiment with the ODIS robot at the Ports of Los Angeles (POLA) and Long Beach (POLB) in July of 2003. POLA & POLB are responsible for moving over 30% of the United States trade goods. Queues of 54’ container trucks routinely exceed 100 trucks, extending for over a mile from the port entrances. Spotted equipment and convoys at staging areas are a high visibility and value assets to a terrorist incident. The POLA/POLB scenario is also representative of TRANSCOM operations at the port of Basra during current operation in Iraq. The California Highway Patrol is responsible for physically inspecting these vehicles for roadworthiness and contraband, a dangerous and dirty job. We will also discuss the use of ODIS robots for this task.
Unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technology can be used in a number of ways to assist in counter-terrorism activities. Robots can be employed for a host of terrorism deterrence and detection applications. As reported in last year's Aerosense conference, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Utah State University (USU) have developed a
tele-operated robot called ODIS (Omnidirectional Inspection System) that is particularly effective in performing under-vehicle inspections at security checkpoints. ODIS' continuing development for this task is heavily influenced by feedback received from soldiers and civilian law enforcement personnel using ODIS-prototypes in an operational environment. Our goal is to convince civilian law enforcement and military police to replace the traditional "mirror on a stick" system of looking under cars for bombs and contraband with ODIS. This paper reports our efforts in the past one year in terms of optimizing ODIS for the visual inspection task. Of particular concern is the design of the vision system. This paper documents details on the various issues relating to ODIS' vision system - sensor, lighting, image processing, and display.