NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Vehicle-Centric 4D Trajectory and Mission Management
PROPOSAL TITLE:MILP-Based 4D Trajectory Planning for Tactical Trajectory Management

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aurora Flight Sciences Corp
9950 Wakeman Dr
Manassas, VA 20110-2702
(703) 369-3633

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James D. Paduano
One Broadway, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA  20110-2702
(617) 225-4381

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Aurora Flight Sciences proposes to develop specialized algorithms and software decision-aiding tools for four-dimensional (4D) vehicle-centric, tactical trajectory management (TTM), derived from algorithms developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to perform similar functions in military scenarios. These algorithms, based on the concept of receding horizon mixed-integer linear programming (RH-MILP), will be specifically tailored to the problem of optimizing the trades between multiple 4D trajectories (4DTs) in the dynamic airspace environment. In particular, the innovation that Aurora proposes is to model and address the stochastic nature of weather and associated airspace and resource restrictions in the flight path, respecting the fact that the time horizon over which sufficiently accurate weather estimates are available may be short compared to the overall TTM request-assign-update cycle (as envisioned by planners of the Next Generation Air Transportation System). The general problem of increasing uncertainty as planning horizons increase will be a central focus of algorithm development. This innovation addresses the needs for rapidly accommodating dynamic changes in aircraft tactical situations and responding to detected external hazards, for introducing any-time planning algorithms, and for generation and specification of 4D trajectories. Currently algorithms that directly address these needs in the context of the NGATS concept of operations (CONOPS) are in the early development stages; technology transition from related military approaches as described herein will therefore greatly benefit the state of the art in national airspace system (NA) operational tools.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary application for our TTM decision-aiding software is the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Aurora also expects the software to be developed, or derivatives thereof, to have capabilities in the area of vehicle management in the NAS, which will lead to other applications within NASA. Given Aurora's specialization in UAV systems, applications of specific interest will include situations involving ferrying and/or operate UAVs in the NAS. This vision is consistent with Aurora's strategic plan to continue to evolve from a company that primarily provides unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to one that provides unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). Increased levels of autonomy in our vehicles, as well as increased levels of operability in the NAS, is focus for future UAVs, which will benefit from the algorithms that Aurora will develop here.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Other applications for MILP-based planning tools abound. Multi-vehicle planning in experimental, fire response, and homeland security applications will benefit from some of the core algorithms to be brought to bear in this program. Aurora also foresees the opportunity to play a role in flight-deck automation. Since the current proposal is focused on 4DT generation and assignation from the perspective of air traffic management, the focus is on the multi-vehicle problem. Understanding how this problem is posed and solved will provide insight into the best methods for creating and updating flight plans on the flight deck. This is important when vehicles are performing autonomous (a.k.a. 'free flight') operations, and will also streamline NGATS operations, because of compatibilities on the flight deck versus centralized TTM planners.

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.

Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Expert Systems
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19