NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 A2.02-8065
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Tool for Collaborative Autonomy

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Sachin Jain
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 229-6812

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Scott Hart
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4892

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

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)
Over the last 25 years, UAS have proven to be very valuable tools for performing a wide range of operations such as environmental disaster relief, search and rescue operations, wildfire suppression, multi-robot planetary exploration, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), precision agriculture, and weather forecasting. Envisioned missions often involve executing several different activities, sometimes simultaneously, where agents (Unmanned air, sea surface, or ground vehicle) must coordinate and interact with each other to perform the requisite tasks. Agents within these networked teams are usually heterogeneous, possessing different resources and capabilities, and some agents are better suited to handle certain types of tasks than others ? this leads to different roles and responsibilities within the mission. In other scenarios, independent vehicles, each with their own goals, must operate in the same space without interfering with one another . Ensuring proper coordination and collaboration between different agents is crucial to efficient and successful operations, motivating the development of autonomous planning methods for heterogeneous networked teams. Reducing the necessity for perfect communication is also critical.

Since operations involve dynamic environments, with situational awareness and underlying models changing rapidly as new information is acquired, so planning strategies must be computationally efficient to adjust solutions in real time. We propose to develop the Tool for Collaborative Autonomy (TCA) that will provide an automated planning capability that routes assets to optimize overall airspace utilization (e.g. in traffic management scenarios) or operational effectiveness (e.g. in cooperative scenarios), and to ensure spatial and temporal deconfliction/synchronization of the team under dynamically changing environments while considering cost factors (e.g. fuel and time), available resources and network constraints.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed Tool for Collaborative Autonomy (TCA) will enable scheduling and deconfliction for civilian low-altitude and Unmanned Aircraft System operations. TCA will replace or augment pilots performing dangerous and/or high precision tasks. Crop dusting, aerial firefighting, agricultural monitoring, and environmental disaster relief involve complex routing of vehicles at low altitudes in communication constrained and uncertain environments. Using TCA for these applications has the potential to save lives and increase productivity.

TCA will also be applicable in the areas of multi-satellite missions, multi-aperture telescopes. Using TCA, multi-satellite missions can be performed, involving clusters of satellites performing in a ?fractionated? spacecraft architecture; a group of navigation capable inspector satellites can provide an external inspection solution to Earth-escape vehicles, like Orion capsule; and multi-aperture telescopes can provide improved optical performance and better coverage of multiple task areas by providing a flexible reconfigurable system.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed Tool for Collaborative Autonomy (TCA) will also find applications in the burgeoning package delivery domain in which heterogeneous air and ground robots retrieve and deliver packages from base locations to delivery locations. This domain is complicated due to uncertainties and constraints, including decentralization, no online communication between robots, partial and noisy observability of packages, and probabilistic distributions of delivery times. Optimal or near-optimal solutions cannot be found in these situations by standard task allocation and planning algorithms; this will be a key goal of TCA.

In addition, it will enable infrastructure surveillance, agricultural monitoring, micro-scale wind model development in urban environment, transport-related applications such as automated parking garages and autonomous vehicles, mining-related applications such as automated mine vehicles and mine sensing. TCA will be of great significance in warehouse management systems, in which large numbers of cooperative mobile robots that perform a majority of the physical tasks.

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)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control
Man-Machine Interaction
Navigation & Guidance
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14