NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-2 A2.02-9086
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Development and Flight Testing of RAIDER: An Automated Upset Recovery System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Barron Associates, Inc.
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Neha Gandhi
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2559
(434) 973-1215

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Connie Hoover
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 7

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)
UAS have the potential to offer great economic and operational advantages, but realizing this potential will require greater operational flexibility for UAS in the National Airspace. New technologies that enable beyond visual line of sight operations and that allow one operator to control multiple vehicles will expand the range of missions that can be accomplished and reduce operating costs. Automated upset recovery technology will reduce reliance on a human operator to mitigate hazards posed by Loss of Control (LOC) due to upset, leading to greater operational freedom. This technology is critical because LOC due to upset is one of the main causes of accidents in manned aircraft and is already emerging as an important causal factor in UAS accidents. LOC of an UAS operated at low altitude poses a hazard to people and property on the ground and is a barrier to relaxing operational restrictions. The Phase I research has developed a recovery system that replaces the perception, cognition, and decision making of a skilled operator with a two-stage automated recovery architecture and an innovative upset detection system. The decision about when to activate each stage of a recovery is difficult to make at design-time, so the upset detection system employs a novel statistical testing framework that combines at run-time numerous pieces of data including vehicle attitude, rotational rate, and controller performance to answer the question: Has an upset occurred? During Phase I, the recovery system was evaluated in a high quality simulation of a small fixed-wing vehicle. All hardware needed for flight testing was obtained, and systems integration work was performed. The proposed Phase II effort will focus on flight testing of the recovery system, including tests with multiple vehicle designs. The Phase II team includes a flight testing and commercialization partner with a track record of safe, legal, and effective UAS inspection operations in support of commercial customers.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed research aligns closely with several NASA programs and thus has multiple potential NASA commercial applications. The system directly addresses the Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP) focus areas of perception, cognition, and decision making and operation of multiple UAS with minimal human oversight.? The overall goal of the IASP is to demonstrate integrated technologies to a maturity level that is sufficient to reduce the risk of implementation for stakeholders in the aviation community. To meet this goal, the Phase I effort has been used to lay the groundwork for a series of flight-test experiments in Phase II that will advance the recovery system to TRL 7. The Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) project is researching prototype technologies to enable and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace and UAS operations. The proposed technology will help meet the autonomicity goals of this program, enabling UAS to maintain control when faced with the large range of precipitating factors that lead to LOC. The Safe Autonomous Systems Operations (SASO) project seeks ways to safely integrate within the National Airspace System the highest level of automation that is justifiable, exploring future airspace concepts including point-to-point and on-demand usage of personal air vehicles (PAVs). The recovery system is applicable to any autonomous vehicle whether a small UAS or self-flying PAV.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed Phase II program is structured to raise the maturity of the recovery system to a level that enables product commercialization onboard commercial inspection UAS. One of the Phase II partners is actively conducting inspection flights for utility companies under a Section 333 exemption from the FAA and has provided low-cost aerial imagery to identify numerous infrastructure problems and wildlife issues. Inspection operations are conducted at low altitude and in close proximity to infrastructure to provide the highest quality imagery. Clearly, this leaves a very small margin for recovering from upset events. The recovery system will help to mitigate the ground hazard, a very real concern considering a significant amount of utility infrastructure exists in densely populated areas. As continued use allows stakeholders to gain confidence in the system, the recovery system will enable flight beyond visual line of sight, operation of multiple UAS by a single operator, and larger mission envelopes. The operational experience that is gained after initial commercialization of the recovery system on commercial inspection UAS operated will leave the team well poised to market the technology in other sectors including (1) military and intelligence gathering operations, (2) law-enforcement operations, (3) land management oversight, (4) aerial photography, and (5) package delivery.

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)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 03-10-16 12:21