KIHOMAC proposes to develop a Precision Retardant Delivery system for to improve the safety and efficiency of aerial firefighting. The proposed system will calculate the optimal aircraft vector for a retardant drop taking into account environmental variables, aircraft capabilities and desired retardant effects. The system will calculate and provide steering cues to the air tanker pilot to the calculated release point, ensuring an optimal drop of retardant.
Our proposed system leverages NASA research into ground collision avoidance and furthers the state of the art by implementing a "forward-look" algorithm to deconflict steering cues with known obstacles. The combination of advanced ground collision avoidance with calculated drop vectors will reduce pilot workload and increase safety during critical low-level flight operations.
Our Phase I effort will focus on advancing prior algorithmic work and demonstrating the feasibility of the approach in four key areas:
Improvement of airspace operations during aerial firefighting through the reduction in re-attacks after missed drops. Improved safety and efficiency of aerial firefighting, resulting in reduced costs, earlier fire containment and lower environmental impact.
Increased efficiency and reduced costs for domestic and international aerial firefighting, both Governmental and commercial. Improved safety for operators of air tankers and lead planes.