DARPA seeks tools for 3D underground mapping and surveying

11 March 2019 (Last Updated March 11th, 2019 12:01)

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a request for information on advanced technologies and methodologies for 3D mapping and surveying of underground environments.

DARPA seeks tools for 3D underground mapping and surveying
DARPA has issued a request for information to augment its understanding of state-of-the-art technologies for 3D mapping and surveying. Credit: DARPA.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a request for information on advanced technologies and methodologies for 3D mapping and surveying of underground environments.

The request is in support of the agency’s Subterranean (SubT) Challenge, which aims to equip troops and first responders with superior capabilities to effectively execute missions underground.

It will inform the agency’s pursuit of technologies for collecting and characterising 3D mapping and surveying data, which will allow troops to quickly and accurately conduct combat operations and disaster missions in the subterranean domain.

DARPA Tactical Technology Office (TTO) programme manager Timothy Chung said: “What makes subterranean areas challenging for precision mapping and surveying, such as lack of GPS, constrained passages, dark or dust-filled air, is similar to what inhibits safe and speedy underground operations for our warfighters.

“DARPA’s SubT Challenge seeks to examine ways to quickly map, navigate, search, and exploit underground environments such as human-made tunnel systems.”

“Building an accurate three-dimensional picture is a key enabler to rapidly and remotely exploring and searching subterranean spaces.”

DARPA’s SubT Challenge seeks to examine ways to quickly map, navigate, search, and exploit underground environments such as human-made tunnel systems, urban underground, and natural cave networks.

Technologies that are designed to provide accurate and high-resolution precise and reproducible survey points with no dependence on substantial infrastructure are of particular interest.

Furthermore, technologies should be able to support easy manipulation, interpreted, and rendered data products into 3D mesh objects.

Selected proposals will demonstrate their capabilities for possible use in the SubT Challenge.