Engine inspection

Aircraft engines need to be inspected periodically and, in some instances repaired. Some of these maintenance operations require the engine to be removed from the wing in order to inspect it, with a significant associated cost. The capability of performing inspections on-wing, i.e. without dismantling the engine, would represent a significant advantage in terms of cost savings while maintaining safety. However, the insertion and deployment of inspection probes on-wing requires a complex manipulator system that surpasses currently available devices. This project aims to develop a novel snake-robot capable of navigating in cluttered engine environments and deploying probes for on-wing engine inspection.

The robotic concept is expected to be adapted from existing soft robots commonly used in minimally invasive surgery. Research will be required on problem analysis, concept selection, design, mechanical modelling, control, and system integration in order to achieve a small diameter robotic device with sufficient force and positioning accuracy to ensure a correct inspection implementation.