The A5 (Advanced Automation for Agile Aerospace Applications) program is a four-year effort, sponsored by the United States Air Force Research Lab, to enable agile and flexible automation for critical Air Force sustainment needs. Led by a development team from the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, Southwest Research Institute, and the Boeing Company, this program seeks to change the paradigm of traditional robotics by leveraging the advanced capabilities of ROS. Traditional automation solutions for aerospace tend to be purpose-built machines, often dedicated to a specific aircraft or component, that require large capital investment and operating expenses. This effort pushes toward a future in which the automation solutions can easily adapt to new tasks and environments and use sensor data to close the loop on process variability. To that end, the team has developed an open-source robotics platform for rapidly deploying automation solutions for a variety of processes, including sanding and non-destructive inspection. The goal of this presentation is to illustrate how we applied and developed ROS open-source software tools to construct this automation platform. The presentation will describe the core capabilities of the system, highlight the many challenges encountered during design, and describe the solutions we implemented in deploying the prototype system for both these initial processes and inspection and extending the software to other platforms and applications.
- Understanding the capability of contemporary open-source tools for advanced capability development.
- Understand the feasibility for a potential advanced application in their domain.
- Scope out a potential project that leverages these advanced capabilities.