Aptima has partnered with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (LM-Aero) to develop a new system to monitor confined spaces in the US Air Force (USAF) and other defence depots.

The confined space monitoring system is being developed in response to the Air Force Sustainment Center’s ‘Complex of the Future’ strategy to boost the safety of workers at the depots.

The system is being designed to allow monitoring of worker locations, their activities and environmental surroundings in real-time, enabling better detection capability and prevent any harm to the worker.

Aptima Adaptive Augmentation Technologies (A2T) capability lead Kevin Durkee said: “The ‘sense, assess, augment’ capabilities of this system are a direct result of Aptima’s SBIR work with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing over the past 10+ years.

“We recognised back then the potential to transition sensor-based technologies and big data modelling approaches from the laboratory to the field.

“Monitoring of confined spaces in airforce maintenance depots is a natural and useful application of the technologies we’ve developed.”

“Monitoring of confined spaces in airforce maintenance depots is a natural and useful application of the technologies we’ve developed.”

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The centralised monitoring system uses non-invasive sensors, algorithms, non-GPS-reliant tracking and built-in decision support to provide continuous real-time monitoring information of workers.

The US Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) had granted a $2.9m contract to the companies for the development of a system of networked sensors and algorithms.

Under the RIF contract, an additional $1.4m SBIR Phase II.5 contract was awarded to Aptima, LM-Aero, and the University of Toledo for the development of a companion tool to provide timely assessments using the output from the system.

According to Aptima, a prototype system will be initially deployed at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC).

The monitoring system will be delivered later throughout other USAF weapon systems.