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AFRL Completes Demonstration of New Maintenance Robotic System

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Manufacturing Technologies Division has showcased a new a robotic system for aircraft maintenance.

The Advanced Automation for Agile Aerospace Applications or A5 robot uses sensor feedback to perform factory work in localized environments, Wright-Patterson AF Base said Thursday.

The robot weighs 22,000 pounds and is expected to reduce the time spent on aircraft coating removal by up to 50 percent.

A5 uses sensor-gathered data to form a path plan that serves as a guide for maintenance activities, eliminating the need for system reprogramming.

“The A5 robot is mounted on a mobile platform that allows it to move about an aircraft,” said Rick Meyers, an automation and robotics program manager at the AFRL.

“A human operator interfaces with the onboard computer, and the robot plans and completes the manual tasks,” he added.

The A5 is nearing completion of its Phase I development, and is scheduled to undergo additional testing on a C-17 aircraft in fall this year.

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