NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: S4.02-8477 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 013522 )
Autonomous Mars Airplane Navigation (AMAN)

Many of the most scientifically interesting areas on Mars, such as Layered sedimentary rock and recent aeolian and groundwater processes, cannot be adequately studied using remotely sensed data and cannot be accessed by Landers. Autonomous airplanes promise to provide accessibility to these areas. However, current Mars airplane concepts suffer from two fundamental limitations that impact the scientific value of the missions. First, mission duration is limited by the severe mass constraints of an airplane and the impact of diurnal cycle on available power. Proposed mission durations range from tens of minutes to a few hours. Second, communication contact times for relay orbiters will be short (on the order of 20 minutes) thereby limiting data return. These constraints create an operational requirement for precision autonomous navigation (10 meter accuracy) enabling acquisition of highly focused scientific data. This research program will demonstrate the feasibility of using Landmark recognition to achieve autonomous navigation with accuracies better than 10 meters. Unique multi-resolution algorithms enable operations within the throughput limitations of existing flight processors. MGS data will be used in phase I to demonstrate the ability to recognize geodetically referenced features. During phase II an flight test will be conducted on an existing flight testbed.

Many commercial applications for vision-based control have been identified and include:Autonomous lane departure warning systems for long haul truckers; Eventual automation of long haul operations; Collision warning systems; Autonomous agriculture systems (plowing, planting, and harvesting); and Automated mobile security systems
These applications are highly cost constrained due to the commercial nature of the products. This leads to a constraint on the available processing capability designed into the system. The same multi-resolution techniques and use of regions of interest for focused processing are required to enable these applications. The techniques developed under this SBIR provide an enabling capability for these applications. Moreover, PercepTek has existing relationships with commercial product suppliers that can be tapped to enable rapid technology transfer during phase II.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
James Lowrie
9903 Titan Ct. Unit 15
Littleton , CO   80125 - 9353

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
9903 Titan Ct. UNit 15
Littleton , CO   80125 - 9353

Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44