NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-2 H6.03-9076
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Human-Robotic Systems - Manipulation Subsystem
PROPOSAL TITLE: Planning for Planetary Science Mission Including Resource Prospecting

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
2515 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(412) 682-3282

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kevin Peterson
2515 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(412) 682-3282

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steven Huber
2515 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(412) 682-3282

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Human-Robotic Systems - Manipulation Subsystem is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Advances in computer-aided mission planning can enhance mission operations and science return for surface missions to Mars, the Moon, and beyond. While the innovations envisioned by this program are broadly applicable, they serve an immediate and urgent need for missions to prospect for volatiles at the lunar poles (i.e., the NASA Lunar Resource Prospector Mission, currently in Phase A). These missions must be rapid and precise, covering multiple kilometers in approximately 10-12 Earth days to complete mission objectives in one lunar light cycle. This calls for the ability to drive intentionally and efficiently to precise drilling destinations. Polar operations encounter low angle lighting; this creates shadows which confront robot operations with challenges in power production, thermal control, and operator situational awareness. This demands robust path planning for efficient mission planning and execution.

The proposed work develops a computer-aided mission planning tool that balances the competing demands of efficient routes, scientific information gain, and rover constraints (e.g., kinematics, communication, power, thermal, and terrainability) to generate and analyze optimized routes between sequences of locations. Planner-computed statistics about the set of viable paths enable mission planners, scientists, and operators to efficiently select routes considering a range of priorities including risk, duration, and science return. This planner will serve an invaluable role in preplanning missions and as a tool for rapidly understanding the impact of changes in mission profile during the mission execution.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed innovations in planning can drive dramatic improvements in mission planning and operator awareness efficiency to enable highest-science-value robotic surface missions and enable future human exploration. These technologies open up new opportunities for cost-effective missions to Mars, the Moon, asteroids, and beyond.

The immediate markets within NASA are for exploration and science missions to surface destinations on the Moon and Mars. Phase II development is in the context of a mission to the lunar pole (i.e., NASA's Lunar Resource Prospector mission, currently in Phase A). The proposed work could also be incorporated into ground data systems for current or future rovers on Mars, such as MSL and Mars 2020 to reduce operator workload and improve path planning results. With additional modifications to the vehicle model, it could be used to plan trajectories for vehicles that explore the surface of Near Earth Asteroids. The technology could also be applied to plan traverse routes for crewed transport vehicles. This work will serve the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate's need for exploration technology development and the Science Directorate's need for investigation of high-value targets at the lunar poles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The commercial need is for efficient planning and intuitive planning – particularly for those that operate in complicated environments. Planning technologies could benefit unexploded ordinance survey, Special Operation Forces, mining, transit planning, search and rescue operations, and agriculture.

Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) is a quarter of a billion dollar a year industry encompassing surveying and disposal. In the US there are 16,000 UXOs sites with an EPA estimated cost of cleanup at least $14 billion. The worldwide need notably includes UXOs from WWI & WWII in France, Belgium, and Germany; approximately 80 million unexploded ordinances in Laos; and approximately 1 million in Lebanon. While the market is vast, manual techniques are labor intensive and costly. The technology proposed here can readily be integrated into planning for automated UXO survey to dramatically improve efficiency and reduce downtime.

Unmanned vehicles play a rapidly expanding role in warfare. UGVs and UAVs offer a particularly good fit for resource-constrained planning. Streamlined coordination and planning of multiple robots is crucial to reduce operator workload and improve mission execution.

DoD stealth operations, such as Special Operations Forces may use a similar planner for operations in changing environments with objectives of non-visibility to the enemy and communication link availability.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control
Man-Machine Interaction
Process Monitoring & Control
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 03-04-14 13:38