NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A1.01-9104
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety
PROPOSAL TITLE: Practical Voice Recognition for the Aircraft Cockpit

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
130 Elsmere Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054-4310

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
J. Scott Merritt
130 Elsmere Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054-4310

This proposal responds to the urgent need for improved pilot interfaces in the modern aircraft cockpit. Recent advances in aircraft equipment bring tremendous resources within the reach of the today's pilot. Unfortunately, these advancements are often accompanied by increases in system complexity and pilot workload. In many cases, the detailed interaction required by modern avionics significantly interferes with the pilot's need to scan instrument gauges, maintain visual separation from other aircraft, and attend to other critical tasks.

To address these concerns, PragmaSoft's proposal combines innovations in robust speech recognition and interface design with powerful application language constraints to deliver highly effective voice interface solutions. Development efforts are carefully target at high workload pilot tasks to ensure substantial benefits and commercial acceptance. Initial product sales are leveraged to collect an extensive corpus of actual (in-flight) speech and operational data for subsequent research and development.

PragmaSoft believes that the lengthy and focused attention required to operate some aircraft devices presents an unacceptable safety risk to flight operations. The proposed innovations deliver effective and commercially attractive voice interface solutions that allow pilots to interact with their cockpit environment in a safer and more efficient manner.

Under subtopic A1.01, NASA requests "innovative technologies to improve airspace safety with a crew-centered focus ... [and] high potential for emerging as marketable products". PragmaSoft's proposal directly addresses this need by delivering advanced speech recognition technology that is commercially attractive to a wide spectrum of aircraft operators, and yields immediate benefits in safety and efficiency.

NASA's Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) program includes a mandate to demonstrate improvements in the ability of single pilots to function competently in complex airspace. This proposal provides an exceptional opportunity for NASA to demonstrate additional capability in support of these objectives.

The proposed innovations deliver commercially attractive, speaker-independent, voice interface products that significantly enhance the safety and efficiency of advanced flight operations. Initial products are carefully targeted to specific applications to ensure substantial benefits and commercial acceptance. Non-certified versions of the product are configured for convenient use in a wide variety of aircraft, while certified versions are provided for permanent installation. The persuasive cost/benefit profile of these products ensures that a wide spectrum of aircraft owners and operators will finally enjoy the benefits of advanced speech recognition technology.