NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 A3.01-8821
SUBTOPIC TITLE: NextGen Airspace
PROPOSAL TITLE: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integration into the NAS

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Metron Aviation, Inc.
45300 Catalina Court, Suite 101
Dulles, VA 20166 - 2335
(703) 456-0123

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert L. Hoffman
45300 Catalina Court, Suite 101
Dulles, VA 20166 - 2335
(703) 234-0760

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 2

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Technological innovations have enabled a wide range of aerial vehicles that can be remotely operated. Viable applications include military missions, law enforcement, border patrol, weather data collection, telecommunications, land use imaging, and cargo transport. NASA and other organizations have invested heavily in this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research. UAVs can be flown in the National Airspace System (NAS) today, but only with special permission from the FAA – a process that often takes 60 to 90 days. Moreover, permission is often contingent on heavy restrictions, such as accompanying the UAV with a manned chase plane, thereby nullifying the cost savings of a UAV. Full fruition of UAV technology will require incorporation of UAVs into mainstream air traffic management (ATM) practices, including traffic flow management flow control programs and possible creation of special use airspace (SUA). In this SBIR, we propose a UAV-to-traffic flow management (UAV-TFM) interface. This allows traffic managers to anticipate and track UAVs. In turn, this allows UAV operators to understand the their impact on commercial air traffic and their involvement in traffic management activities.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This SBIR benefits NASA in three ways. (1) It furthers one of the main goals of NASA's Strategic Airspace Usage project, the increase of capacity and the enhancement of throughput in the national airspace system via development of long-term operational concepts for collaborative traffic management. (2) This SBIR preserves the integrity and applicability of NASA research and development of UAV technology by helping to overcome a primary obstacle to integration of UAVs into today's national airspace system. In particular, this research will encourage policy makers to accept the viability of UAVs. (3) NASA decision support tools developed for ATM, such as CTAS, TMA, FAST, and SMS will benefit from recommendations for how to account for UAV traffic into their logic.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The FAA will benefit from this innovative research in several ways. (1) They will have a greater understanding of how they can grapple with changing traffic demand patterns and NAS user needs stemming from remote operation of vehicles. (2) The FAA will have access to a tool and operational paradigm for data exchange between UAV operators and FAA traffic managers. (3) The FAA will partially achieve one of the NextGen programmatic goals of equitable access to NAS resources for all NAS users. (4) This research will assist the future FAA task of setting UAV operation policies by providing insight into and feasibility of UAV integration into the national airspace system. (5) There possibly being a strong relation between UAVs and special use airspace, our proposed tool could be integrated with, thereby furthering, the FAA's special use airspace system (SAMS). Several other government agencies share responsibility for UAV integration, such as Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Defense, US Forest Services, US Coast guard, and Office of Homeland Security.

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.

Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14