NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 A1.09-9907
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robust Flare Planning and Guidance for Unimpaired and Impaired Aircraft
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Robust Flare Planning Logic for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
9950 Wakeman Drive
Manassas, VA 20110 - 2702
(617) 500-0536

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Antonio Abad
1 Broadway, 12th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1189
(617) 500-7048

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Aurora Flight Sciences proposes to develop a flare planning methodology that would provide aircraft guidance during this critical phase of flight. The algorithms that Aurora seeks to leverage the reachability problem in the fields of Optimal Control and Hybrid Systems, using Rapidly-Exploring Random Trees (RRTs) and Falsification theory. To this end, Aurora proposes the innovation of applying a suitable version of these algorithms to the design of a flare maneuver guidance and planning logic. The planner will be capable of dynamically producing a flare maneuver that does not violate the aircraft flight envelope and other stipulated constraints. The planner will meet the robustness requirements stipulated in the topic solicitation; namely, it will apply to both impeded and unimpeded aircraft, and it will operate under significant weather disturbances. The main technical challenge in developing the planning logic is extending and applying the chosen control algorithms to 6-DOF aircraft dynamics models under the required variety of operating conditions. The ultimate goal of the Phase 2 effort is to demonstrate Aurora's algorithms in an appropriately sophisticated Hardware-in-the-loop simulation of an impaired aircraft during a flare maneuver.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aurora envisions two related NASA Commercial Applications resulting from the proposed innovation, both of which align with NASA's Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control (IRAC) project. First, the planning logic is envisioned as a separate, specialized module tailored specifically to the flare phase of flight, thus fulfilling the multi-disciplinary IRAC project goal for this specifid flight phase. In a broader context, the success demonstration of applying Safety Verification-based algorithms to this difficult flight regime would spur similar efforts and thus, applications to many other flight regimes, especially those in which severe upset recovery is of interest.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aurora envisions two possible non-NASA Commercial Applications resulting from the proposed innovation. The first, and immediate application of the planner is to UAV Automatic Take-off and Landing (ATOL) systems on Aurora's fleet of UAVs. A second, and broader application is based on the opportunity of becoming experts in developing Safety Verification-based algorithms and their application to both manned and unmanned systems. An example application in the manned systems domain is the extension of the planner to autolander systems. For unmanned systems, Aurora views this effort as a technical opportunity that will eventually assist in improving UAV safety and reliability.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Attitude Determination and Control
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Expert Systems
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Operations Concepts and Requirements
Pilot Support Systems
Simulation Modeling Environment
Testing Facilities

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26