NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 X5.01-8382
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Mobile Surface Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Flexible and Safe Control of Mobile Surface Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
IA Tech, Inc.
10501 Kinnard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024-6017
(310)474-3568

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kam S Tso
tso@ia-tech.com
10501 Kinnard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024-6017
(310)474-3568

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The primary innovation of this work is a novel Petri net based approach for safe and flexible control of highly capable mobile surface systems, such as long-duration science rovers, crew surface systems, multi-robot and human-robot teams. The traditional approach of time-based sequence of commands will not be adequate for commanding and coordinating those surface systems because it does not support concurrent tasks and team coordination. Those surface systems will best be supported by a state-based control architecture that explicitly models the states and their interactions. Petri net is a mature and flexible formalism for representing such a state-based control architecture. This research will develop novel Petri net based techniques to enable 1) explicit modeling and control of concurrent tasks, team coordination, and mode switching, and 2) dynamic reconfiguration of a Petri net during its execution to support onboard planning and human/robot interactions. The result of the proposed effort will be a Petri net based executive that can be integrated into a robot planning and control system for flexible and safe control of mobile surface systems. In addition, a graphical tool will also be developed to enable operators to visualize, edit, and analyze the Petri nets.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
This research will result in an end-to-end system for visualizing, editing, analyzing, and executing robot task plans based on the Petri net formalism. The system will facilitate task planning and ensure robust and safe control of surface mobile systems. It supports concurrent tasks, team coordination, and dynamic plan updates which will be needed by future NASA mobile surface systems, such as highly capable science rovers, crew surface systems, multi-robot and human-robot teams.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The resulting Petri net based system can be used by the military for controlling weapon systems, and unmanned aerial or ground vehicles. Potential commercial applications include manufacturing systems design, communication network design, and office automation. In addition, there is a vast market in programmable logic controllers (PLCs), as researchers have showed that Petri net is the best technology for designing those PLCs. The proposed Petri net based executive, in conjunction with the Petri net editor, will provide a ready-to-use Petri net solution for PLCs, from design, control, to maintenance.