NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 T4.01-9845
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics
PROPOSAL TITLE: The PHARAOH Procedure Execution Architecture for Remote Operations of Autonomous Robots

NAME: TRACLabs, Inc. NAME: Southwest Research Institute
STREET: 100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520 STREET: 6220 Culebra Road
CITY: San Antonio CITY: San Antonio
STATE/ZIP: TX  78216 - 1234 STATE/ZIP: TX  78238 - 5166
PHONE: (281) 461-7886 PHONE: (210) 684-5111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Stephen Hart
16969 N Texas Ave Suite 300
Webster, TX 77598 - 4085
(281) 461-7886

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. David Kortenkamp
16969 N Texas Ave Suite 300
Webster, TX 77598 - 4085
(281) 461-7886

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics 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)
While historically all of NASA's human missions are carried out by crew members following English language procedure documents, robotic activities are usually performed by issuing much lower-level commands. This disconnect creates undue burden on mission operators as it requires the involvement of expert robot programmers to define each activity. In contrast, we propose that robots in space, just like human crew members, should be guided through vetted, human-readable procedures. Such an approach will allow NASA to seamlessly allocate new robotic capabilities and resources to existing space activities, as well as to facilitate the cooperation of humans and their robot assistants when performing joint activities.

We propose to develop the PHARAOH system, which integrates TRACLabs' proprietary procedure authoring and execution software with our robot navigation, manipulation, and visualization tools. TRACLabs' Procedure IDE (PRIDE) and our affordance template (AT) robot planning & control software have been developed over the past few years in conjunction with NASA engineers and researchers on various projects. They represent the state of the art in their domains. Integration of these two research streams will result in the unprecedented simplification and standardization of how robots are used by mission operators (as opposed to robotic experts) to accomplish the tasks NASA requires. We envision non-robotics flight controllers eventually being able to re-task remote robotic assets by using English-language procedures that automatically map directly to robot capabilities on the back-end.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Both the PRIDE electronic procedure management software suite and the Affordance Template framework were developed in collaboration with NASA, albeit in very different project groups. NASA has an ongoing interest in both of these technologies, and TRACLabs would be well-positioned to market this product to them in Phase III. NASA recognizes that as they investigate long-duration missions, advanced robotics will play an important role, and there is a need for technology such as this.

Although this research will initially focus on remote rover robots, like Resource Prospector, the Affordance Template framework is applicable to manipulation robots like Astrobee, R5, and SSRMS. NASA's Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) project that is modernizing the space agency's ground infrastructure systems for their Space Network is evaluating PRIDE as a potential technology for Local Operating Procedures (LOPs). NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) is interested in applying PRIDE to the Scalable Convergent Electronic Propulsion Technology Operations Research (SCEPTOR) project. PRIDE is being evaluated for use in ground control operations for the Resource Prospector (RP) robot being developed by NASA JSC and ARC for lunar surface operations. All of these NASA projects could benefit with the extensions to the PRIDE software proposed as part of this research.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
TRACLabs sees application of this technology in the automotive manufacturing area. TRACLabs has a contract with one of the top international automotive suppliers to install our robot perception, planning, & control software on industrial manipulators in an automotive parts assembly plant. This deliverable includes using the Affordance Templates framework for non-expert programming of pick-and-place tasks. The interaction of standard operating procedures and robotic manipulation is of great interest to our automotive customer.

TRACLabs is already selling PRIDE as a commercial product with a major oil field services company as a launch customer. This company is field-testing PRIDE at several sites world-wide before deployment in actual operations in mid-2017. PRIDE is proving automation assistance to drilling operations. We will work with them to make sure that this project meets their requirements. TRACLabs expects additional customers in the oil and gas industry will deploy PRIDE once it has been proven effective by our launch customer.

Commercial space companies have also purchased PRIDE licenses for their operating procedures. In all of these cases, we will offer the features developed this proposal as an "add-on" to the existing PRIDE software.

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

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:45