Airbus supports inspection robot development

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European engineering consultancy AKKA Technologies is developing an inspection robot for aircraft walk-around checks.

Dubbed Air-COBOT – “aircraft enhanced inspection by smart and collaborative robot” – the four-wheel, all-terrain vehicle is to automatically move around the aircraft to check the airframe surface for damage on the airport ramp or in maintenance hangars.

AKKA is developing the equipment with several partners, including Airbus.

The autonomous robot should be able to conduct around 70% of daily, visual aircraft inspections and thus support maintenance personnel in their work, says AKKA.

However, the equipment should also improve the quality of checks as it will be capable to detect “smallest defects” , the group adds.

Findings are automatically stored and analysed to determine potential trends or damage developments.

The robot should improve efficiency of airport ground operations and deliver maintenance cost-savings, says AKKA

The project is partly financed by European research funding.