NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 A1.06-9070
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Vertical Lift Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Onboard Generic Fault Detection Algorithm Development and Demonstration for VTOL sUAS

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc.
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448 - 9665
(805) 275-1053

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Philip Osterkamp
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448 - 9665
(805) 275-1053

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrew Gibson
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448 - 9665
(805) 275-1053

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Vertical Lift 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)
In the proposed SBIR study, Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero) will develop a fault detection and identification avionics system implementing a generic statistical fault detection algorithm and demonstrate the system's effectiveness through flight testing on board a VTOL UAV testbed. The algorithm is aimed to be generic in the sense that it is agnostic to the specific platform or avionics suite on which it is implemented, making the developed technology broadly applicable to VTOL aircraft configurations, other aircraft types, and beyond. Using a statistics-based method, the system will not need to have direct knowledge of the sensors, the system, or the vehicle configuration. By simply monitoring the available sensors and comparing their signals to a trained nominal statistical data model, abnormalities in systems, sub-systems and individual components can be detected before a major failure occurs, greatly improving system operational safety and potentially significantly reducing maintenance costs. To develop the fault detection system, the team will leverage previous ePHM (Prognostic and Health Management) investment and configure a COTS VTOL UAV with a sensor suite and onboard data acquisition and processing system. The team will operate this VTOL UAV testbed to acquire data for nominal operation and then intentionally inject failures into the system to gather data for various faulty operations. The algorithm will be adapted to this dataset and loaded onto the testbed. Finally, in Phase I, ESAero will demonstrate the fault detection algorithm in flight verifying that the algorithm is capable of both detecting and identifying faults during actual operation. In Phase II, ESAero envisions further productionizing the technology by working with commercial motor and speed control vendors to broaden the statistical dataset and miniaturize the sensor and processing modules with the goal to integrate into existing hardware offerings.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A generic fault detection algorithm for VTOL UAVs would be directly applicable to many NASA applications. With successful Phase I and envisioned Phase II efforts, this system will truly be generic in the sense that it can be installed on nearly any aircraft, manned or unmanned, vertical lift or conventional. Furthermore, the generality of the system does not require a precise installation or a tedious training process. NASA would have the ability to integrate the system into existing and future flight test programs and install it on nearly any test article including the ESAero-primed X-57 "Maxwell". Such a system would provide an additional layer of safety to the program. Such technology will be vital as NASA begins testing electric and hybrid-electric aircraft where electric motor, generator, and battery performance is being pushed into unknown territory. The system could also be installed onto ground test articles or within wind tunnels.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
With millions of VTOL UAV aircraft sold every year for both commercial and personal use, the number of accidents due to system or component failure will inevitably increase hampering their safe integration into the NAS. In addition, VTOL UAVs are gaining traction in the commercial sector as businesses invent new and innovative use cases such as package delivery, farming, photography, land surveying, disaster relief, gas/oil pipeline inspection, and much more. As these commercial UAV fleets grow larger, fleet operators will need new ways to efficiently manage and streamline vehicle maintenance. A generic fault detection system would allow the operators to detect abnormalities and then preemptively repair or replace faulty components before the vehicle becomes a safety hazard and/or causes a disruption in operations. The generic plug-and-play capability of the proposed system is critical to commercialization. By creating a common solution and integration approach that minimizes the complexity, installation, and setup time this technology can bring enhanced safety to the consumer UAV market and ease the integration of these aircraft into the NAS.

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
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59