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The TWI Exploratory programme project ‘Novel automated robotic path planning solution for non-destructive testing (NDT) based on light detection and ranging (LIDAR) for digital twin creation’ project, COBOT, has been successful in increasing the capabilities of TWI’s Crystal Software Development Kit (SDK), and improving TWI’s offering in robotic inspection by reducing the need for manual path planning which takes significant time. This led to significant single client project (SCP) work for TWI as it creates an attractive alternative to current market offerings.

As a result of COBOT: 

  • The TWI Crystal Software Development Kit (SDK) has been extended to allow integration with the stereo imaging camera.
  • Algorithms were developed using the stereo imaging camera to acquire depth information and build a 3D environment of the scene (digital twin)
  • An autonomous raster path planning algorithm was created without the need for CAD.

Consequently, the system can now perform autonomous scanning of previously unseen components in minutes.

COBOT has been a resounding commercial success, generating a return on investment that exceeds three times the project budget. It has delivered significant commercial benefits, including the sale of an SCP for the client TPAC's software license sale to Blue Origin, as well as the potential for further software licenses, and SCP work from Relativity Space and Jacobs. Additionally, TPAC has become a member of TWI as a direct result of the COBOT project's success.

Opportunities to showcase the ground-breaking technology in COBOT are being maximised by the project team, for example at the ECNDT2023 Conference in Lisbon.

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