NIST announced up to $71 million in funding through its Technology Innovation Program (TIP) for 20 new cost-sharing projects designed to support innovative, high-risk research in new technologies that address critical national needs. The new projects will include developing unmanned, hovering aircraft for bridge inspections, a high-speed sorting system for recycling aerospace metals, and nanomaterials for advanced batteries, among other projects.
Framingham, MA-based CyPhy Works, formerly known as The Droid Works, won a research grant to develop the technologies required to create small, hovering, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) for use in the inspection and monitoring of large-scale civil infrastructure elements such as bridges and dams.
Company founder Helen Greiner, a co-founder of iRobot, said in a statement that, "There are 600,000 bridges in the United States, and there is a mandate for inspection of each of them every two years."
Mass High Tech quoted company officials, who said the "CyPhy Works team is working on a new inspection system based on small, unmanned, hovering robots fitted with video cameras and other sensors. The planned hovering UAV would slowly move around bridges and similar structures and send back to engineers close-up, high-fidelity images and other data for remote inspection."