NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 A3.02-8237
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Autonomy of the National Airspace Systems (NAS)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Innovation in the Sky

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Higher Ground
2225 East Bayshore Road, Suite 2
Palo Alto, CA 94303 - 9430
(650) 322-3958

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Rob Reis
2225 E. Bayshore Rd, Suite 2
Palo Alto, CA 94303 - 9430
(650) 322-3958

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Rob Reis
2225 E. Bayshore Rd, Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303 - 9430
(650) 322-3958

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Autonomy of the National Airspace Systems (NAS) 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)
This proposal presents a scope of work to develop a total product solution for Beyond Visual Line of Sight [BVLOS] Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV] operations. Our focus is on technology development to increase the safety and efficacy of the commercial UAV air transportation system. The goal is to improve autonomous and safe UAV operations for the first/last 50 feet (and beyond) under diverse weather conditions.

In particular we focus on a UAV electronics package to provide the following system solution: a) BVLOS communications; b) track/locate; c) sense/avoid; d) long endurance flight; e) long range command/control; f) remote imaging and g) first person video. The solution we propose has a reasonably clear path to regulatory approval for spectrum and flight certification.

First and foremost, the regulatory agencies need to be satisfied that the industry is safe. To be safe we need to develop autonomous [and semi-autonomous] concepts that can be scaled into today's airspace operations. Second, there are still features missing from a whole product solution. The commercial world invests in productivity improvements - anything less is simply too much work for the potential customer.

We believe that it is possible to design/build a small, relatively inexpensive UAV that can a) reliably and ubiquitously communicate it's location vector; b) avoid obstacles; c) fly for more than 2 hours; d) do hover and horizontal flight; e) be commanded even outside of terrestrial radio line of sight; f) send back targeted high resolution images and g) (maybe) provide first person video.

We suggest in the interest of time-to-market, an initial focus on semi-autonomous UAV flight instead of full autonomy. Semi-autonomous flight permits a human in the loop for unusual events and extraordinary situations that are difficult to plan (like the first/last 50 feet). Fully autonomous flight is likely not worth that substantial incremental investment.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are many applications for Government use of the BVLOS technology. We outline just a few.

Secret Service: The movement of the President is a very complex operation. The process becomes quite challenging when the President moves in the public space as it is difficult to control all access. UAV's can be a meaningful advance to this problem. It would be quite valuable to have UAV's cross the sky at low altitude above the public space to provide real-time, actionable visibility of activity on the ground below.

Environmental: NOAA and the Department of the Interior would like to send UAV's into rural spaces to understand better weather, environmental changes and wildlife count. UAV's provide a wonderful vehicle for this research as the landmass is enormous and access is often limited.

Border Security: Unauthorized movement around any border can be inexpensively patrolled by BVLOS flights.

Transportation Infrastructure: Buildings, bridges, roadways' can be explored and imaged at distance via BVLOS UAV's.

Search & Rescue: A BVLOS UAV can search far more area, faster and cheaper than by humans.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are many applications for commercial use of the BVLOS technology. We outline just a few.

Infrastructure Inspection: There are many large asset-based operations [rail, pipeline, refinery...] in which periodic observations are mandated by statute. These assets need to be inspected regularly. Many of these companies have thousands to tens of thousands of miles that are today inspected monthly by manned aircraft. This inspection can be done far less expensively by UAV's. But, the savings cannot begin until we make BVLOS flight safe and approved.

Videography: A UAV is a valuable new platform for capturing scenes in movies and real-time news.

Agriculture: A UAV will be an important asset for pest control, monitoring plant health and vegetation efficiency. The UAV can fly at low altitude over the farm and provide real-time agricultural health reports (which due to their ease and periodicity) become quite actionable.

Mapping: A UAV can be used for mapping of areas that are challenging to access.

Package Delivery: UAV's can provide quick and expedient delivery of small packages.

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.)
Air Transportation & Safety
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Coding & Compression
Image Capture (Stills/Motion)
Lasers (Ladar/Lidar)
Man-Machine Interaction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14