Since mid 2020 GreenSight has been perfecting a novel vibration based fault detection system for aircraft, using machine learning to measure the health of a vehicle. The PreSound system uses common sensors that are already present on most drones and larger unmanned aircraft, meaning that in most cases PreSound can be installed on an aircraft by merely adding GreenSight’s specialized software.
PreSound uses a mix of existing GreenSight software and new technology developed through two NASA funded Small Business Innovative Research(SBIR) contracts, and has already produced promising results. NASA is interested in using the technology to improve reliability for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles in their AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) and HDV (High Density Vertiplex) projects. The system in 2023 is able to use data streamed in real time from an aircraft flight controller to detect vehicle state, providing accurate health indications from just a few seconds of vibration data. The system can reliably detect and categorize even subtle faults such as small nicks in a propeller, and has been shown to have the capacity to detect loose fasteners and structural cracks as well. These types of subtle aircraft health issues are often missed or invisible to human inspectors.
PreSound enables new levels of autonomy in aircraft. Manned aircraft have traditionally required a human to conduct a preflight inspection before every flight. PreSound enables an aircraft to conduct an automated “preflight inspection” to detect issues before flying, and has been shown to also have the ability to monitor the vehicle for faults occurring during flight in real-time. This means that unmanned aircraft and fully automated urban aerial mobility (UAM) aircraft can safely operate with less human oversight. Having the ability to regularly self-analyze and detect these types of issues will also help unmanned aircraft achieve the safety and reliability levels required to operate in urban areas, where flying over people means very strong safeguards are needed.
GreenSight is rolling out the system onto its own fleet of remotely operated UAS in the second half of 2023. The system is ideally suited for small unmanned aircraft conducting high volume flights, particularly when unattended use is desired and where humans are unavailable to inspect the aircraft before flights. For next generation logistics and package delivery systems, PreSound may be an enabling technology. Despite high reliability design, in heavy use unmanned aircraft can experience wear and tear that eventually causes unsafe operation. GreenSight is in discussions with the US Federal Aviation Administration concerning how PreSound could play a part in accelerating certification for unmanned systems.
PreSound is also potentially an enabling technology for automated Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM), which are expected to require significantly less aviation experience to operate.
GreenSight is having discussions with partners on how this technology can accelerate their high reliability aviation systems, and is actively seeking more commercialization partners who have interest in studying how PreSound can integrate with their vehicles. We are extremely excited about the potential for this technology to benefit manned and unmanned aviation.