NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 A2.02-7076
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Windhover Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Software Ecosystem

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Windhover Labs
2115 Castle Drive
League City, TX 77573 - 4947
(832) 640-4018

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mathew Benson
2115 Castle Drive
League City, TX 77573 - 4947
(832) 640-4018

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mathew Benson
2115 Castle Drive
League City, TX 77573 - 4947
(832) 640-4018

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 6
End: 8

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology 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)
The safety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flights is currently the responsibility of the pilot who is required to keep the vehicle within their line of sight (LoS). However, many UASs are capable of increasingly autonomous operation. As autonomy pushes against this boundary it is inevitable that the LoS requirement must be replaced with onboard intelligence to sense and avoid trouble without pilot intervention. The software making these decisions must be developed and tested to standards that ensure reliability and safety. Robust development, test, and operations tools will ensure quality development, adequate testing, and insightful operations of UASs.

Windhover proposes to build upon their Phase I efforts to create a complete ecosystem of flight and ground software, as well as processes and standards for achieving the levels safety needed for operations of small UASs. The newest UAS operators are solving problems in their respective industries. They need a robust UAS software development tool chain that provides access to vehicle control in a safe manner that their existing IT resources and software personnel are already familiar with.
Application developers building on the Windhover infrastructure use the entire tool chain to create robust test campaigns. The onboard test agent and ground automation provide a rich scripting environment that facilitates the efficient creation of multi-level test campaigns for verification and validation. These application test campaigns are built upon the pedigree of the Windhover framework that has been developed and tested with the same tool chain.

Our Windhover software ecosystem will enable an exponential rate of innovation in the UAS software market and lead to novel solutions to the problems facing the integration of small UASs into the National Airspace (NAS). The Windhover ecosystem will become the defacto standard for safely developing, testing, deploying, and operating UAS applications in the NAS.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
UTM : Unmanned Traffic Management for UAS in low-altitude airspace. This project includes the development and demonstration of a possible future UTM system that could safely enable low-altitude airspace and UAS operations. Robust flight software and integrated ground solutions will be central to this effort. The Windhover ecosystem is quite complimentary to this effort.
AOS : Autonomy Operating System, which is building smart drones on top of CFS and Artificial Intelligence reasoning engines. Although AOS is using different computer hardware, it will benefit from the Phase II certification efforts targeting CFS outlined in this proposal. AOS is a feasibility study that will sunset after 2017, though will potentially evolve into another technical challenge. There is also considerable potential for crossover benefit from the human exploration mission directorate, which has embraced CFS in some of its space flight software projects, like the backup flight computer for Orion.
NASA is proving to be a major player in the integration of UAS into the national airspace. Many of the current ideas will require that the low altitude airspace be mapped and cataloged. NASA would be a good choice for these multi-sensor data acquisition flights. NASA could use Windhover / Aerotenna powered UAS missions to fly the necessary flights to create the map of low altitude airspace. These maps could then be used by others to safely fly through these areas.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Many potential UAS application developers cannot overcome the barrier to entry that is presented by safety related concerns. With a safety critical flight software (FSW) framework in place, they can focus on their problem space without needing extensive FSW experience. The Windhover ecosystem enables UAS application developers to quickly create application solutions that stand on the shoulders of a rock-solid platform.

Java Script / Python user applications and the use of industry standard IT solutions at the heart of operations console brings UAS software development to a huge existing base of IT professionals. The contrast with expensive, proprietary aerospace technologies opens up tremendous commercial potential for 3rd parties to add on and enhance the Windhover ecosystem. The UAS operator can create applications to streamline a workflow, test a variety of simulated scenarios, and ensure their application is robust. Once satisfied, they can sell their application to other operators in the Windhover ecosystem.

In contrast to other UAS FSW platforms, the Windhover ecosystem is both certifiable and open, enabling expansion through additional applications by 3rd parties which will energize the commercial market for UAS. Windhover has successfully brought the open NASA CFS platform to the UAS domain, built a solid tool chain, and deployed a scalable operations solution. The Phase II products and certification round out a complete, powerful ecosystem.

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
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Command & Control
Development Environments
Simulation & Modeling
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 03-07-17 15:43