NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 A2.02-9479
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Fully-Automated, Agricultural Application using Unmanned Aircraft

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Continuum Dynamics, Inc.
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618 - 2302
(609) 538-0444

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Daniel A. Wachspress
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618 - 2302
(609) 538-0444 Extension :114

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms. Barbara A. Agans
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618 - 2302
(609) 538-0444 Extension :106

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology 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)
Interest in civilian use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has increased greatly in recent years and is expected to grow significantly in the future. NASA is involved in UAS research that would greatly benefit from advancing the ability of UAS to make real-time decisions based on sensor data with little human oversight. This SBIR effort is designed to develop and demonstrate this capability by installing and executing an onboard system on an existing UAS platform to provide a fully-automated, agricultural application process managed entirely by EPA-approved software. This is a high-value civilian application particularly suited to UAS given the dangers posed by maneuvering manned aircraft at extremely low altitudes. The SBIR effort will be performed by installing a modified version of Continuum Dynamics, Inc. (CDI) AGDISP© agricultural chemical application software onboard a specially modified Dragonfly Pictures Inc. (DPI) DP-14 Field Hawk UAS. The project would see the development of an onboard sensing and management system to fully-automate the process for agricultural application in a manner that meets EPA regulations for chemical deposition and FAA requirements for airworthiness. Phase I will establish feasibility by demonstrating an ability to perform the required onboard sensing, communication between the UAS and management software, and execution of the software-determined flight path and spraying strategy based on chemical deposition patterns determined by the software for prevailing environmental conditions. Phase II would see the design, development and implementation of the fully-automated system along with a flight demonstration.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed effort directly responds to the goals cited in the solicitation to develop technologies that provide the ability of UAS to extract information in-flight and utilize this information in decision making. This SBIR effort also directly supports current NASA/industry initiatives to establish airworthiness standards for FAA-certification that will provide a roadmap for future implementation of UAS in commercial applications within the U.S. Specifically, this SBIR effort dovetails with a NASA/DPI partnership to utilize DPI's unmanned tandem DP-14 Field Hawk helicopter to study civil airworthiness certification for use in the national airspace through demonstration of precision agricultural application, a mission that is particularly suited to UAS given the significant dangers faced by manned aircraft maneuvering at extremely low altitudes. The proposed SBIR effort complements and directly supports this NASA/DPI effort by adding demonstration of a fully-autonomous, flight path management system onboard the UAS tailored toward a specific task, in this case agricultural application. This adds two key elements that must be demonstrated before UAS can be applied in commercial applications within the U.S., addressing both a need for technical advancement related to autonomous control and decision-making as well as a need to develop airworthiness FAA-certification requirements for autonomous aircraft operations.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The DoD is seeing growing use of UAS in surveillance and urban operations where the ability to extract information in-flight and utilize this information in decision-making with minimal human oversight is critical. The number of trained operators of DoD unmanned aircraft systems is currently being vastly outstripped by requirements for operating an ever-increasing fleet of UAS aircraft. UAS operators are currently being forced to work longer and longer shifts with no alleviation in sight. The technology developed during this effort directly supports addressing this need, providing advancements in the ability for autonomous control of UAS platforms that will reduce the level of direct piloting required. Private industry will also benefit greatly from this current effort. First, this SBIR will provide advancements in fully-autonomous, application-specific, UAS platforms. Autonomous control is critical to the eventual expansion of the customer base beyond those with piloting experience to the general public at large. Thus this area of research supports an enormous leap in commercialization potential. Second, the proposed effort also has a component addressing FAA-certification requirements for autonomously-controlled UAS. This is currently a critical barrier to the commercial use of UAS in the U.S.

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)
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37