NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T8.01-9762
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Autonomous Multi-Robotic Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Autonomous Multi-Robot Exploration using UWB

NAME: TDC Acquisition Holdings, Inc. NAME: University of Alabama Huntsville
STREET: 4955 Corporate Drive, Suite 101 STREET: 301 Sparkman Drive
CITY: Huntsville CITY: Huntsville
STATE/ZIP: AL  35805 - 6208 STATE/ZIP: AL  35805 - 1911
PHONE: (256) 922-9229 PHONE: (256) 824-2659

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Brandon Dewberry
4955 Corporate Drive, Suite 101
Huntsville, AL 35805 - 6208
(256) 990-8995

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Single multi-sensor teleoperated systems are not optimal for NASA exploratory missions because they limit the coverage area and scope of exploration and create a single point for mission failure. A better solution would use many robots cooperating to maximize exploration area and location accuracy while minimizing total system power and weight. The goal of this research is to investigate pulsed-RF Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology for its ability to simultaneously provide enhanced ad hoc wireless communication, distributed precision navigation/localization, and radar sensing. The ultimate goal is development of a subsumed navigation layer providing a straightforward mechanism for distributed autonomous guidance algorithms to quickly detect, share, and adapt to changes in the environment using novel distributed navigation controls.
Pulsed-RF UWB supports simultaneous communications, peer-to-peer precision ranging, and multi-static radar. Using this single basis technology will enable more and smaller exploratory agents. Using UWB would solve communication and localization issues, while providing the added benefit of radar sensing and imaging. Larger spatial areas would be more accurately explored with lower power/weight/volume and with much greater system redundancy.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
UWB distributed navigation and sensing technology would enhance NASA's mission in a number of ways. First, multi-robotic systems with an instrument-laden "Parent/Base" vehicle could support localization and data storage/uplink of many lightly laden "Child/Scout" vehicles. These scout vehicles would use UWB for ranging, communications, and cooperative radar, providing a small, redundant exploration architecture.

Second, this concept can be extended to multiple aerial vehicles flying in tight formation using UWB peer-to-peer ranging. Simultaneous UWB multi-static radar in the outer agents would scan the surface, providing precision altimetry as well as imaging. UWB uniquely could provide precision (~100ps) dynamic time synchronization supporting distributed aperture radio arrays for long-distance transception through this swarm of cooperative agents.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Development of a mobile ad hoc network with subsumed navigation layer and enabling dynamic multi-static radar for multi-robotic systems will support many non-NASA applications including:
- Multi-robotic search and rescue systems working together to map and sense people in rubble
- Cooperative security robots, continually mapping floor plans looking for out of place items
- Autonomous chem/bio/rad hazards: small teams of robots with special sensors quickly measure and map the location of hot spots within storage warehouses
- Distributed personnel and high-end asset tracking in GPS-denied industrial factories, warehouses, and construction sites
- Vehicle collision avoidance safety systems for construction, mining, forestry, and other heavy industries
- Formation control in autonomous agriculture

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.)
Ad-Hoc Networks (see also Sensors)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Astronautics)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Sensor Nodes & Webs (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44