Heron Systems Selected by DHS to Design Novel UGV
The Department of Homeland Security, through the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is tasked with inspecting arriving international cargo for radiological or nuclear materials. However when applied to air cargo and general commercial aviation, there is a major capabilities gap largely stemming from the lack of a natural choke point in airport operations to deploy fixed detection equipment.
Leveraging unmanned ground vehicles as scanning assets offer a feasible direction forward that can rapidly advance the state of anomaly detection and aid in closing aviation point of entry weaknesses. Heron Systems proposed to develop unmanned ground vehicles that will be capable of reliable, repeatable data collection, remain adaptable to scenario and/or environmental changes, and enable remote monitoring and data analytics.
The proposed solution is a novel UGV facilitating collaborative human-robotic teams to perform automated rapid assessment for detection and localization of radiation anomalies. Using the MACE framework, a multi-vehicle collaborative architecture, we will ensure that the UGV remains adaptable to rapidly advancing aspects of autonomy (e.g. algorithms, hardware sensing technologies, and scenario and/or operations evolutions).
We have partnered with Clearpath Robotics to provide mature, commercially available robotics technologies. In addition, we have partnered with Dr. Kevin Kochersberger of Virginia Tech’s Autonomous Systems Lab to provide subject matter expertise in radiological identification and localization, which will inform the system design to optimize the prototype design for the mission.