NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 Z5.02-9047
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Systems - Mobility Subsystems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Robot Application Development Using a Library of Reactive Control Actions

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TRACLabs, Inc.
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 461-7886

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stephen Hart
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 678-4194

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Kortenkamp
16969 N. Texas Ave Suite 300
Webster, TX 77058 - 4085
(281) 461-7886

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Robotic Systems - Mobility Subsystems 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)
Future NASA missions will require robots that are adaptable in the face of dynamic and unpredictable environments. Existing robot systems have largely relied on a combination of highly-controlled, known environments and slow, carefully preplanned motions that require intensive human preparation and oversight. This strategy leaves little room for variation or adaptability in the face of unforeseen errors and limits the amount of direct interaction the robot can have with its environment.

Consider the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) arm. This system is used to grapple payloads docking with the ISS and to transport astronauts for EVA operations. In the first case, the payloads remain essentially stationary relative to the ISS, while in the second, the manipulator remains stationary during the actual EVA activity. The current SSRMS software simply does not support dynamic activities such as acquiring a moving object, nor does it allow the astronauts to use its capabilities to assist them during the EVA task. Similarly, consider the tasks performed by the R5 humanoid robot during both the DARPA Robotics Challenge and for the ongoing NASA Space Robotics Challenge. These tasks include manipulating objects such as communication dishes, valves and buttons that are placed in fixed locations. In each case, the robot is commanded to perform a series of carefully constructed actions, typically relying on a remote human operator to react at rates slower than necessary for many crucial tasks. Handling non-rigid soft goods, grabbing a tool from a human co-worker, or using a wrench to tighten a bolt with a specific torque are well beyond the current mission capabilities.

To address these challenges, we propose an application development framework in which both experts and non-experts can draw upon a set of reactive control actions to quickly program complex robots to perform complex tasks, expanding their capabilities and advancing the state of the art.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA manipulators deployed in space, such as SSRMS and Dextre, as well as research platforms, such as Centaur and R5, are all currently limited by the lack of a framework for commanding and monitoring actions that incorporate reactivity and dynamics. Missions involving these and other NASA robots will benefit immediately from the delivered results of this project, enabling them to accomplish tasks that are currently infeasible. The existing CRAFTSMAN tool-suite was developed in collaboration with NASA, and is currently in use in research labs at NASA.

Specifically, the proposed work will have initial applications to visiting vehicle and robotic operations on ISS. We have close relationships with Dr. Kim Hambuchen, Mr. Kris Verdeyen, Dr. Bill Bluethmann, and Dr. Ron Diftler at NASA JSC and have discussed with some of them potential applications of the current and proposed CRAFTSMAN tool-suite on R5. Other TRACLabs software, compatible with CRAFTSMAN, is being evaluated for use in ground control operations for the Resource Prospector (RP) robot being developed by NASA JSC and ARC for lunar surface operations. We have also worked with Dr. Jeremy Frank (NASA ARC) to look how the CRAFTSMAN software may integrate with his on-board ISS automated procedure project. Additionally, TRACLabs has contacts with MOD ROBO flight controllers, including Quinn Carelock (NASA FOD) and Scott Wenger (robotics team lead) where the capabilities of this work could be applied.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
TRACLabs is already working with a large automotive supplier to integrate CRAFTSMAN into a production cell in a factory by mid-July 2017. This "flexible workcell" will be the first of its kind for this industry leader. TRACLabs is also working with Dr. Chris Thayer and Mr. Chris McQuin at Motiv Space Systems (MSS) to port the CRAFTSMAN software to their Robosimian quadruped robot sold to universities. Motiv has expressed real interest in the reactive control extensions discussed in this proposal. In both cases, discussions on how to license the CRAFTSMAN software for use in these customers' applications are currently underway.

These customers have chosen CRAFTSMAN to be the software to integrate into their systems because the need for easy-to-use but capable software for industrial applications is becoming increasingly needed. As such, we expect substantial interest from other commercial customers in the automotive, energy, construction, and service sectors, and will investigate potential opportunities aggressively. For example, TRACLabs also has close contacts with General Electric (GE) including Dr. Roland Menassa, Mr. John Lizzi, and Dr. Shiraj Sen where CRAFTSMAN could be applied to numerous systems in multiple domains, such as nuclear waste disposal.

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
Process Monitoring & Control
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59