A borescope inspecting a turbine engine

Roke has applied its expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision to accelerate the development of Rolls-Royce’s industry-first Intelligent Borescope.

The technology allows Rolls-Royce to monitor and optimise aircraft engine maintenance processes through the automation of complex inspection tasks.

A routine borescope inspection can take 12 hours to complete. The Intelligent Borescope, scheduled to be delivered to aerospace customers in 2021, reduces the time it takes to carry out certain inspections by 75% and could save up to £100m in inspection costs over five years.

Roke engineers applied novel computer vision and AI algorithms, to create three bespoke apps that integrate and enable an inspection unit, on the Intelligent Borescope, to process data rapidly. As a result, specific inspections can be completed in a fraction of the time.

The Intelligent Borescope uses AI technology similar to that used for facial recognition to map engine blades and find inconsistencies or irregularities. Data is then sent directly to the Rolls-Royce cloud for further analysis, producing high-quality standardised information that can be exploited within the business to maximise the efficiency of the entire fleet and improve future design.

This is the first-time facial recognition AI technology has been used in this way for aerospace inspections. Roke engineers continue to work with the Rolls-Royce team to design, build and validate AI systems to ensure they meet stringent safety critical requirements set by the customer and the industry. 

Roke is a long-standing technology enabling partner with Rolls-Royce. Collaborations over the past decade include supporting the InnovateUK programme, INSPECT, in which Roke and Rolls-Royce developed a novel optical inspection solution for the IntelligentEngine vision, and the REINSTATE project which will commence in 2021.

Neil Gladstone, Futures Director of Roke, commented:

“We’re proud to play a key role in the development of the Intelligent Borescope. Our robust and innovative engineering approach, harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to deliver a smart and novel solution. It’s a pragmatic use of AI in a real-world challenge and addresses the overhaul of large complex systems, through-life servicing, maintenance and repair.

“In addition to saving time and costs, we have provided trust and validation in an automated system that will help Rolls-Royce revolutionise their industry.”

Adriano Pulisciano, Rolls-Royce Imaging and Computer Vision Specialist, said:

We’ve worked with Roke, for several years now, on a range of intelligent sensing applications. The Intelligent Borescope stands out in particular as one of those examples where some truly innovative thinking has been delivered, not just because of Roke’s deep specialist knowledge in computer vision and associated engineering rigour, but as a result of the close working relationship we’ve developed and their appetite to really get into the heart of the challenge.”

Find out more information and download an Intelligent Borescope info-graphic below.

Read more   Download the info-graphic

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