NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 A2.01-9364
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Research
PROPOSAL TITLE: Uninhabited Traffic Management System Evaluator (UTME)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20855 - 2737
(301) 294-5221

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Frederick Wieland
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20855 - 2737
(301) 294-5268

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark James
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20855 - 2737
(301) 294-5221

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Research is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The key innovation of this effort is the development of an Uninhabited Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Manager Evaluator (UTME) specifically targeted at evaluating potential air traffic systems for handling low-altitude UAS flights. It has been estimated that over 90% of future UAS flights will be low altitude (less than 6,000 feet above ground level). At such low altitudes, the conventional air traffic management systems are ineffective, primarily because both communication and surveillance coverage is limited at those low altitudes, and communication latencies among the controller, remote pilot, and UAS vehicle will be higher than controllers are accustomed to today. Therefore the current approach of treating low-altitude piloted flights distant from a major airport with Visual Flight Rules (delegating separation to the pilot in visual meteorological condition) may lead to unacceptably low levels of safety (high probability of accidents). In part because of these concerns, NASA is considering developing a low-altitude air traffic control system specifically for UAS flights—what is called here a system for UAS Traffic Management, or UTM. But how should such a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system be structured? What are the fundamental requirements? How can different proposals for handling such traffic be evaluated? A UTM evaluator, which is the system proposed herein, will help answer these questions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA researchers can directly use UTME to evaluate tradeoffs when designing a UAS Traffic Management system. For example, in considering whether a UTM system should be sector-based or based on something else (such as UAS mission), researchers might consider the number of controllers that would be needed for both systems. UTME could provide an estimate that NASA researchers can use to compare the two systems. UTME could also be used by NASA to pinpoint areas of UAS operations where current research has not considered, thereby helping define the future NASA research program.
Some of the tradeoffs that can be investigated by NASA researchers include: should communication between a UAS flying in a remote area and its pilot be relayed via other, higher-flying UAS aircraft? Or through a network of ground stations strategically located in different parts of remote regions? What latencies are observed with these two designs, and if the error rates are different, how large should the protection bubble be to ensure safe separation? The answer to these questions can help evaluate different UTM designs and provide direction for further research at NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Once a UAS system is defined, UAS manufacturers would need an evaluation system to determine how their designs might perform in a UTM environment. UTME could therefore be used by commercial companies to determine whether changes in their design would be necessary, or, at the minimum, to identify the operating characteristics of their systems early enough in the design cycle to allow them to modify the design if needed.
As a communication medium, UTME results could be shared with the public, members of Congress, or other decision makers to show the safety, performance, and environmental compliance of the proposed UTM system.
As a commercial product, UTME could be configured with whatever UTM system NASA and FAA finally decide upon, allowing industry to vary the flight data (including flying their own aircraft in the virtual world), in order to understand the impacts of the UTM system on their aircraft. They can then use the results to modify their aircraft design in one or more dimensions to improve its performance vis-a-viz the UTM system.

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
Analytical Methods
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37