NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 A3.01-8521
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Concepts and Technology Development (CTD)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Airspace Simulation through Indoor Operation of Subscale Flight Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Neerim Corporation
2551 Casey Ave #B
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 269-9328

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Peter Gage
2551 Casey Ave #B
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 269-9328

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
An indoor environment for simulating airspace operations will be designed. Highly maneuverable subscale vehicles can be used to simulate the dynamics of full-scale vehicles by applying software limiters on their rates. Multiple vehicles can operate autonomously or can be coordinated through centralized control. The effects of weather on system throughput can be assessed by monitoring movements in the controlled environment, Faults related to communication, detection and vehicle performance can be inserted into the system, to assess the robustness of proposed airspace concepts.

We are particularly interested in the impact of UAVs in the NAS. Automated separation assurance schemes are essential for UAV integration. The indoor environment is ideally suited to prove out both airborne and ground-based approaches to separation assurance. Beyond this particular motivation for developing this test facility, evaluation of novel algorithms for trajectory design and innovative communication concepts can be assessed safely and cost-effectively in this environment.

The key innovation is the environment in which vehicles and airspace technologies can be assessed. We are not proposing innovation in the technologies themselves. Furthermore, we think that the key elements of the environment are already available, but they have not been assembled into a system that supports airspace simulation. The innovation is primarily system integration, with some customization of the various elements so that interaction between elements is representative of full-scale airspace operations.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A natural commercialization outcome would be to design and install an airspace simulation environment at a NASA center. All of the essential system features can be demonstrated in Phase II in a space about the size of a school gymnasium. Such an environment could then be scaled up for a larger space, to enable simulation of a larger segment of airspace with more vehicles in simultaneous operation. Hangars at Langley or Dryden might be re-purposed for the airspace environment, but Hangar One, at Ames Research Center, would be an ideal venue. It is a very large structure with huge interior volume that is planned for refurbishment but does not have an identified use. It is located at a center that already has responsibility for airspace modeling, so it would readily support cross-pollination between software simulations and subscale flight demonstrations of airspace effectiveness. The environment would be a national resource for developers of new vehicles that must be integrated into airspace, and for researchers pursuing algorithms and protocols for improved airspace effectiveness.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The anticipated commercial market is STEM education, centered on Aerial Robotics camps for high school students. A simulation environment at the scale of a school gymnasium is planned for Phase II development. Beyond Phase II, the system would be further developed to support transportation and rapid deployment in any gymnasium with a floor area and height for at least two basketball courts. Any such gymnasium (at most high schools and many middle schools and community centers around the country) then becomes a potential venue for a camp. A single environment can support 50 vehicles that would be designed and operated by 100-150 campers. Assuming 10 weeks of availability between May and September (allowing for transportation and set-up between different camp locations), more than a thousand students would gain direct exposure to the most pressing aeronautics problem of our time, and would experience the thrill of measuring baseline system performance and designing and implementing improvements to it.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Air Transportation & Safety
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Data Fusion
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12