NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 A2.02-9727
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Modular Swarm Optimization Framework Enabling Multi-Vehicle Coordinated Path Planning

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Heron Systems, Inc.
20945 Great Mills Road
Lexington Park, MD 20653 - 5304
(301) 866-0330

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Kenneth E Kroeger
ALEXANDRIA, AK 22314 - 4688
(571) 257-8403

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Brett K Darcey
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314 - 4688
(571) 257-8403

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
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)
The advancement of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with computing power and communications hardware has enabled an increased capability set for multi-vehicle collaborative operations. By cooperatively allocating unmanned resources, vehicle tasking, and planning the subsequent vehicle paths, the efficiency of UAS operations can be maximized. Heron Systems proposes the Multi-Agent Cooperative Engagement (MACE) framework that enables collaborative resource allocation, task allocation, and path planning for unmanned systems operating in dynamic environments subject to diverse communication conditions. This Phase 1 work will focus on the path planning portion of MACE, as path planning is an integral part of collaborative efforts in nearly every real world application. The path planning architecture will define key modules to plan paths to a global objective, assess potential obstacles, and avoid collisions while maintaining progress towards the global objective. The framework will be constructed in a modular fashion to allow a plug-and-play capability for the resource/task allocation as well as the various components of the path planning pipeline, giving end users the flexibility to explore other methods for UAS collaboration. At the conclusion of Phase 1, the MACE path planning capability will be demonstrated using Heron Systems' previously developed flexible UAS simulation suite and ISAAC software, promoting high fidelity hardware-in-the-loop simulation/stimulation testing with COTS hardware components.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Heron Systems identifies the UAS National Air Space (NAS) integration project as the principle NASA mission to benefit from MACE. Collaborative UAS capabilities can support several ongoing initiatives either directly or by offering capabilities that empower further opportunities. MACE is well suited to benefit the ongoing effort to integrate UAS into the NAS. Methods for determining suitable paths in the presence of both cooperating and non-cooperating aircraft are vital for safe integration. Additionally, MACE can provide NASA with a framework for enabling safe terminal area operations where collaborative control can be used to guide entering and exiting UAS into safe, predictable flight patterns while in the terminal area.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercially, MACE promises to dramatically improve the efficiency of operations of many envisioned UAS applications. Of particular interest are those in the areas of precision agriculture and pipeline/electrical grid inspection. Heron Systems will build a service delivery model tailored for precision agriculture supporting rapid surveying of fields and follow-on tasking based on real-time findings. Similarly, a second product line will tailor to the needs of long distance pipeline and electrical grid operators, supporting inspection requirements. Heron Systems is principally targeting the commercial market.

Collaborative UAS capabilities can enable game changing opportunities for the government market broadly. For example, the US military would benefit from collaborative small UAS packages where size, weight, power and cost are scaled down to support high capability in a near disposable package. This could enable front-line ISR missions or even kinetic events in support of squad level operations, amongst many other possibilities. Ongoing persistent surveillance missions could be enhanced by allowing for teams of heterogeneously equipped assets to work together to increase the amount and/or quality of the surveillance data captured. The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency could benefit from collaborative teams performing agricultural surveys and environmental inspections/monitoring. These and many more opportunities will be pursued.

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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37