NASA awarded two Phase II contracts to Robust Analytics under the 2018 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. The projects expand RA’s portfolio of airspace and safety research, and will support new NASA initiatives for the safe operation of autonomous aircraft and in-time system-wide safety monitoring. The research projects start in August 2019 and continue for two years.
FLIGHT AND AIRPORT-AIRSPACE MONITOR (FAAM)
The Flight and Airport-Airspace Monitor (FAAM) will provide airline dispatchers and airline operations center managers with a tool to estimate the current and future safety margin of a terminal airspace and flights operating in that airspace. Our concept divides the safety monitoring architecture into two components: an Airspace/Airport Monitoring component, and a Flight Monitoring system. The Airspace Monitor combines data on weather, infrastructure state, traffic density, and aircraft positions and planned trajectories with predictive analytics on aircraft separations to infer the risk state of the airspace. The Flight Monitor uses airline and aircraft-based data to evaluate potential aircraft risks from equipment state and certification, and the potential for pilot fatigue based on elapsed crew duty time and time of day. Our architecture can readily add real-time crew monitoring in future instantiations.
DISPATCH OPERATIONS AND CONTROL FOR AUTONOMOUS FLEETS (DOCAF)
In support of NASA’s autonomous flight research programs, Robust Analytics is developing a suite of technologies to manage multiple autonomous or semi-autonomous aircraft including Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations. Our approach extends the existing knowledge base of airline operations, leveraging emerging technologies that enable autonomous flight. DOCAF monitors vehicle systems and data, coupled with auto-upload and download of dynamic flight data required to support safe and efficient flight operation. Our system provides an evolutionary pathway for the monitoring and control of multiple semi-autonomous and autonomous flights by a single operator.
We propose and develop new functionality to accelerate this transition. Our vision aims to extend and enhance current capabilities to transition the functions of today’s airline dispatchers to future airspace and vehicle concepts. In the near term, our research will benefit the developers and future operators of new urban air mobility and cargo delivery services as all of them need to implement a ground-based, dispatch operational control system. Our DOCAF technology supports early deployment of new services by defining the ground-based capabilities they require and by offering a technology solution to air-ground integration to enable monitoring and operational control.