NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 A2.02-7689
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Self-Directed and Informed Forced-Landing System for UAV Avoidance of On-Ground Persons, Vehicles, and Structures

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)
Dr. Nathan D. Richards
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms. Connie R 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: 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)
During a piloted forced landing in which the aircraft can no longer maintain level flight and is therefore forced to make an emergency off-airport landing, the human pilot continuously reassesses and updates the plan to minimize on-ground and onboard injury and damage. In the case of an unmanned air vehicle, this level of intelligent risk minimization is unavailable. Moreover, low-weight and low-cost design objectives for unmanned aircraft have resulted in a lack of propulsion and control redundancy, as well as unreliable communication links and an associated increase in incidents due to engine failure, control failure, and lost link. Safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) will require an onboard capability for unmanned aircraft to accomplish the complex observation, understanding, and decision making that is required without assistance from a human operator. An advanced system capable of perception, cognition, and decision making is necessary to replace the need for a dedicated expert operator to ensure safety to persons, vehicles, and structures on the ground during UAS forced landings. Deployment of such a system would enable multiple UAS to be supervised by a single operator without compromising safety.
The Self-Directed and Informed Forced Landing system emulates the continuous decision making process of a human pilot by assimilating available information and constantly reevaluating the plan. Robust, onboard guidance and control maximize the capability of the impaired aircraft while executing the current plan. The system considers current vehicle capability, wind estimates, landing site and route risk, as well as the uncertainty associated with these factors. Also, system design decisions have been, and will continue to be, weighed against current and near-future verification, validation, and certification requirements.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Widespread commercial use of UAS requires the safe integration of UAS into the NAS. Associated NASA research programs with a focus on achieving multi-vehicle operation and autonomous operation with less human oversight are application areas that directly benefit from the proposed system. The system directly addresses the Integrated Aviation Systems Program's focus area of ?high level machine perception, cognition, and decision making? while also supporting the focus area of enabling ?humans to operate multiple UAS with minimal oversight.? Specifically, the system will enable UASs to plan and execute forced landings that minimize the risk to persons and property on the ground. This technology is applicable to all classes/tiers of UAS including those in low-altitude airspace and those in high-altitude Class A and Class E airspace. Deployment in low-altitude airspace is directly applicable to near-term interests in Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM). Application to larger atmospheric research UAS and unmanned reusable launch vehicles follows maturation of the technology on small and mid-sized UAS at lower altitudes.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In order to safely fulfill their rolls in government and commercial sectors, UAS will need to meet performance expectations for mission completion, reliable operation, and safe coexistence with other aircraft in the national airspace. The proposed system will address this need and increase the reliability, safety and autonomy of a UAS. Government agency UAS applications include: (1) Department of Defense military and intelligence-gathering operations, (2) FBI and local law-enforcement operations in urban areas, and (3) Department of the Interior land management oversight. In the private commercial sector, applications include the rapidly growing use of UAS for remote inspection and photography as well as future uses including package and medical supply delivery. The proposed system will interface with a widely used open-source auto-pilot software suite to provide direct access to a significant market of current small UAS users. Following successful completion of the research plan, the proposed system can be licensed to manufacturers of UAS airframes and autopilots. Widespread commercial use on small and mid-sized UAS will ultimately help prove the technology and lead to implementation on large UAS.

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)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14