NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 A3.02-8996
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Autonomy of the National Airspace System (NAS)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Application of Imaging Sensors for UAS Command and Control for Evolving Towards Autonomous Operations of UAS

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aerospace Innovations, LLC
4822 George Washington Memorial Highway, Suite 200
Yorktown, VA 23692 - 2768
(757) 875-5144

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Dung Nguyen
4822 George Washington Memorial Hwy, Suite 200
Yorktown, VA 23692 - 2768
(757) 875-5144

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Dung Nguyen
4822 George Washington Memorial Hwy, Suite 200
Yorktown, VA 23692 - 2768
(757) 875-5144

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Autonomy of the National Airspace System (NAS) 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)
NextGen will undoubtedly include unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as legislated under the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The FAA is currently developing the regulatory framework for safely integrating small UAS (sUAS) into routine national airspace System (NAS) operations. The introduction of UAS in the NAS offer advantages over manned aircraft for applications which can be hazardous to human pilots, are long in duration, require greater precision, and require rapid response. Startup UAS companies have proposed using UAS for remote sensing, disaster response, delivery of goods, agricultural support, and many other beneficial applications. One significant aspect in an efficient NAS is the development of autonomous capabilities for UAS and the technologies that supports the safe implementation UAS autonomy.
AI proposes to support NASA's UAS autonomy effort by developing an imaging sensor based command and control system that takes advantage of the 3-axis accelerometers that are in smart devices prevalent in the consumer electronics market for autonomous UAS operations. The paradigm shift from human piloted system to an autonomously operated aircraft will require both successful development of sensor technology and image processing techniques to allow for the systematic translation in the human to machine interface.
While the majority of current UAS operators are trained UAS pilots, the availability of these specialized pilots may not meet the demand that is anticipated for future commercial UAS companies. Additionally, more intuitive piloting controls are needed to enable wide spread adaption of this technology and the subsequent evolution to a more autonomous operation. The work described in this proposal will provide the foundation to enable development of a UAS with intuitive flight controls

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The potential NASA commercial application exists in continued development of autonomy in UAS for the integration in NextGen. NASA researchers could use the resulting designs and/or prototypes of this research to extend their current work in the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate to develop and evaluate the efficacy of newer, more human-centric autonomous control systems for UAS. Additionally, the identification and evaluation of operational functions will help NASA in developing a hierarchical taxonomy of autonomy of UAS functions. The results of the image processing techniques can also be used in manned aviation systems and potentially for interplanetary robotic missions where autonomy would provide more independent, but safer exploration of unknown environments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Demand for more intuitive and autonomous control system for UAS will increase in the future as more applications are being developed for UAS in the NAS. Technologies that will help UAS operators perform their intended functions while maintaining the equivalent level of safety will be essential for their acceptance and inclusion in the NAS. Development of a low-cost airworthy all weather imaging sensor system can be incorporated into commercial UAS to help maintain safe operations in the terminal and enroute area in the NextGen.
Safe, reliable, autonomously operating UAS can reduce the cost of monitoring infrastructure that span across physical distance, challenging terrain, and normally inaccessible places. While the paradigm may shift at different rates, it is clear that the development of autonomous functions will help pave the way to a better defined national airspace where piloted and unmanned system can coexist to increase the productivity of our national economy and improve the human condition where UAS will be working to monitor our safety and provide assistance when needed.
Image processing techniques to improve the sensing capabilities is desired across many disciplines and within other non-NASA agencies. The ability to derive information from pixels in low visibility or inclement weather is important to the Department of Defense, NOAA, National Weather Service, Department of Interior, and agencies where imagery is a critical source for information mining.

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)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Data Processing
Image Capture (Stills/Motion)
Image Processing
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37