037 – “Semi-Autonomous Health and Safety Monitoring with Remote Distributed Sensors”

Author: Jennifer Tribble
Company: WR-ALC / 402 AMXG
Phone: (478) 926-0396
Email: jennifer.tribble.1@us.af.mil

Aircraft sustainment work within the Department of Defense is a costly and occasionally hazardous work domain, including flammability risks, volatile organic compounds, and low oxygen conditions within confined spaces. Government investment into maintainer safety has resulted in impressive track record for safety, however this typically comes with a high financial cost and reduced work efficiency. Immense pressure exists to meet critical sustainment deadlines requires all capable personnel to be made available for production work. A solution is needed to increase manpower availability for supporting maintenance work without compromising the ability to detect hazards and prevent safety incidents.

The 402nd Maintenance Group (402 AMXG) at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) and its development team has developed a sensors-based remote monitoring solution that increases safety and reduces manpower needed to assure maintainer safety. An unobtrusive sensor suite is utilized that collects and wirelessly transmits atmospheric hazards and maintainer health signals, as well as indoor location tracking to respond if/when incidents occur. Intelligent algorithms are run on these data for semi-autonomous alerting and intervention based on worker health/safety status, greatly minimizing the time and attention needed by safety attendants. Data are networked into a remotely located decision support station and wearable alerting displays (e.g. smartwatch interfaces) for a reduced number of safety attendants to monitor many maintainers concurrently and respond promptly when needed.

This technology supports the prevention, detection, and intervention of health and safety hazards in aircraft maintenance depots. It reduces the time, costs, and manpower required by current health and safety monitoring practices (e.g., confined spaces). Compared to manual safety monitoring practices, there is greater reliability for ensuring worker safety with less time to recognize and respond to health/safety problem. This technology boosts depot efficiency (e.g., reduced downtime) and offers a reduction in sustainment costs due to manpower reallocation to other supporting functions. A Gen1 prototype has undergone testing and evaluation, and is being planned for full-scale delivery at WR-ALC.