NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-2 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.
22685 Three Notch Road Suite B
California, MD 20619 - 3019
(301) 866-0330

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kenneth Kroeger
2121 Eisenhower Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314 - 4688
(571) 257-8403

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Brett Darcey
22685 Three Notch Road
California, MD 20619 - 3019
(240) 298-7725

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

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 to develop the Multi-Agent Cooperative Engagement (MACE) framework into a mature prototype that enables collaborative resource allocation, task allocation, and path planning for unmanned systems operating in dynamic environments subject to diverse communication conditions. This Phase 2 work will focus on refining the path planning portion of MACE as well as maturing the resource and task allocation library developed during Phase 1. 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 2, the MACE framework will be demonstrated using Heron Systems´┐Ż HWIL simulation/stimulation environment. Once verified via the HWIL environment, the MACE framework will be deployed onboard several aerial assets and tested against scenarios specifically tailored towards precision agriculture applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Collaborative unmanned operations can offer NASA significant new capabilities in the areas of airborne science, weather monitoring and the ongoing study of UAS integration into the National Air Space (NAS). We have identified the ongoing Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) program and related studies being conducted at NASA Langley and NASA Ames. Collaborative capabilities can support several ongoing initiatives either directly or by offering capabilities that empower further opportunities. Methods for determining suitable paths in the presence of both compliant and non-compliant 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 and predictable flight patterns. A secondary NASA customer set will be the Aeronautical Earth Sciences programs operated by NASA Langley. MACE can empower enhanced data collection through the deployment of multiple sensors and increased coverage areas. Further, the flexible resource allocation capability can allow scientists to maximize their data collection time to focus on targets of opportunity that may not be fully understood prior to launching the mission.

A third opportunity is insertion into the ongoing storm monitoring and prediction activities jointly conducted by NASA and NOAA. MACE can be used to supplement ongoing GlobalHawk flights to gather high fidelity data.

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 aerial surveying. 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 civil engineers supporting inspection requirements. Heron Systems is principally targeting the commercial market.

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)
Command & Control
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Man-Machine Interaction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 03-10-16 12:21