NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A1.03-8285
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Improved Aviation Security
PROPOSAL TITLE: Real Time Monitoring and Test Vector Generation for Improved Flight Safety

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901-2496

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alec J.D. Bateman
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901-2496

As the complexity of flight controllers grows so does the cost associated with verification and validation (V&V). Current-generation controllers are reaching a level of complexity that pushes the envelopes of existing V&V approaches, and without improved approaches there is little hope for affordable V&V of next-generation intelligent systems. Unfortunately, controller complexity and controller validation are required to ensure the safety of next-generation systems. Barron Associates proposes an aggressive plan of research to develop monitoring algorithms that estimate, in real time, safety margins of complex systems based on observed differences between the model used for controller development and actual flight data. The Phase I and Phase II research will focus on the flight test environment where these algorithms would allow the flight test engineer to monitor and revise the test plan in real time - skipping ahead in the buildup when safety is assured and avoiding test points where safety is questionable. The tool would also recommend test points that could help refine safety margin estimates for as yet unexecuted maneuvers. The result will be reduced flight test costs and improved safety. Phase I will develop a prototype approach and Phase II would implement the approach in a software tool.

The immediate NASA application is the Airborne Subscale Transport Aircraft Research (AirSTAR) test-bed at LaRC. This aircraft will provide an experimental flight test capability for Aviation Safety and Security Program (AvSSP) Single Aircraft Accident Prevention (SAAP) research pertaining to advanced control technology for failure accommodation and control under upset conditions. The SAAP algorithms are novel and complex, and many AirSTAR flight tests will be conducted at the edges of the flight envelope. The proposed research will be designed to address this need by providing real time monitoring and assurance, thereby improving the safety and reducing flight-test costs.

Non-NASA commercial applications fall under two categories: (1) other real-time testing of safety-critical systems, and (2) real-time monitoring of operational systems. Barron Associates is currently working with all three major airframers (Lockheed, Northrop, and Boeing) as well as the Navy and Air Force flight test centers to develop modeling, control, and advanced validation and verification (V&V) technologies for safety-critical systems. The tool developed in this SBIR address a unique need not being addressed by other current research, and will complement the tools already being developed by Barron Associates, Inc.