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Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Integration

Description:

ScopeTitle:

Improving Awareness of Icing Potentialfor Near-Term AAM Operations

ScopeDescription:

The goal of this scope istwo-fold: to improve the safety of current operations and toprovide data for the benefit of the AAM ecosystem, such as developingstandards and refining forecasting models. Although mostcurrent operations will avoid flight where there is the potential foricing, this effort is targeting developing and improving the accuracy oficing observations to improve the safety of AAM high-risk operations,such as those for lifesaving or national securitypurposes. Note that icing avoidance and mitigation technologiesare not within the scope of this subtopic. Leveraging anunderstanding of current icing observational and forecasting techniques,efforts under this SBIR proposal would be directed at improving icingobservational methods and/or forecasting techniques. Theseimprovements and techniques should be suited to commercialization in thenear term while also be positioned to benefit broader efforts, such asthose of NOAA, the FAA, and Standards Development Organizations(SDOs). This effort, combined with improved forecasts, icingmitigation technologies, and improved icing observational equipment andmethods, will be a step along the path towards safer and more reliableAAM operations.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of theProject: 1 to 4

Primary TechnologyTaxonomy:

  • Level 1 08 Sensorsand Instruments
  • Level 2 08.1 RemoteSensingInstruments/Sensors

DesiredDeliverables of Phase I and PhaseII:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Prototype

DesiredDeliverables Description:

Phase I of this scope wouldinclude an assessment of the state of the art of observational methods,forecasting techniques, existing observational data sources, and thecurrent challenges that need to be addressed to enable the nextstep-change in improving situational awareness of potential icing forAAM operations. Phase I would also begin to design a potentialsystem architecture that would leverage existing and new data sources toprovide icing observations that can be utilized for current operationsand to improve forecasting models. Lastly, Phase I should beused to identify users of the data produced by this architecture,including AAM operators, forecasting model developer(s), and/or SDOworking group(s).

 

Phase IIof this scope would be to refine this system architecture and build aninitial instantiation to demonstrate the feasibility, the ability toprovide new, relevant and beneficial information, and assess itscommercialization potential.

State of the Art and CriticalGaps:

Current methods for addressing the issuesassociated with icing focus on a conservative risk posture and avoidingpotential icing conditions. This conservative approachis necessary as actual observational data is sparse and resultingforecasting models consequently take alow-risk approach. As AAM operations increase andcompanies work to reduce costs while maintaining reliability, bettertools will be needed to determine the actual likelihood ofencountering icing conditions, so that operations arenot negatively impacted unnecessarily, and appropriate safetymeasures are taken based upon the mission risk profile andthe vehicle configuration/capability; these tools must also bemore accurate, regarding the potential for actual icingconditions.

Relevance / ScienceTraceability:

This subtopic seeks to complementpast and future efforts under the A1 subtopic for icing avoidance andmitigation technologies. Although that subtopic focuses ondecision-support tools and technologies to better avoid icing andtechnologies to reduce the likelihood of icing (e.g., surfacesthat prevent ice from forming), this scope is focused on reducing thevolume of airspace where icing is likely, by improving observations andforecasting. Together, these efforts offer a multiprongedapproach to this challenge.

References:

None

Scope Title:

Mobile AAMWeather Information Systems

ScopeDescription:

The goal of this scope is toincrease safety for near-term AAM operations by providing a mobileweather information system that can be tailored and relocateddepending on the use case while meeting the anticipated American Societyfor Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for WeatherInformation Providers. The vision for the mid- and far-termoutlook calls for much more prevalent and locality-specificsystems that balance safety, performance, cost, and othersystem attributes. To meet aviation weather standardsin the near term, AAMoperations will rely on existing FAA-certified systems orprivate and experimental observations, visual line-of-sightoperations, waivers, or having a pilot on board theaircraft. The goal of this scope is to enablecost-effective safety improvements to AAM operations away from airportsthat provide weather information by having systemsavailable for purchase that meet the draft ASTM standard. Thiswill allow companies to obtain weather information, increasingsafety while also allowing them to transport these systems tovarious locations, reducing the need for permanently installedinfrastructure. The mobile aspect could also allow the systemsto be utilized in areas where other infrastructure islacking or where it is currentlyunavailable. Being mobile, the system should address allaspects necessary for operations, from collecting and/or obtaininglocally relevant data to processing the data fordisplay and potentially providing recommendations. AnUncrewed Aerial System (UAS) could be considered as a component of amobile weather system, but it could not comprise the entire envisionedmobile weather system under this solicitation. This is partlybecause a weather information system relying solely on a singleobservation and not providing data processing for display or providingrecommendations would likely not provide a compelling businesscase. It is not anticipated that the system will be able to beoperate autonomously initially. It is also anticipated that theASTM standard will be published before Phase II proposals aredue.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of theProject: 1 to 7

Primary TechnologyTaxonomy:

  • Level 1 08 Sensorsand Instruments
  • Level 2 08.X OtherSensors and Instruments

Desired Deliverablesof Phase I and PhaseII:

  • Analysis
  • Prototype
  • Hardware
  • Software

DesiredDeliverables Description:

The Phase Ideliverable would be a designed mobile system tailored for one or moreuse cases, and an expression of potential interest from one or severalcustomers. The use cases could be short-term fast response usessuch as disaster relief, support aviation operations duringfirefighting or search and rescue, or a system for planned activitiessuch as infrastructure inspections, "drone shows" atevents, or transport of medical lab samples. Such systemsshould be able to meet the draft ASTM Weather Information Providerstandard.

Phase II would be to build and test the system desired by one ofthe several customers for potential sale and operational use.

State of the Art and CriticalGaps:

Other than at airports, there currentlyare no weather observation systems that take observationsrelevant to AAM operations, essentially at altitudes of less than 10,000ft. Given the size of the United States, it willrequire decades and a vast amount of funding before thesesystems can be designed and installed. This SBIR solicitationis focused on providing the value enabled by having this information ata sustainable cost to the user.

Relevance / ScienceTraceability:

This effort has greaterapplicability to the AAM ecosystem or potentially as asupporting capability to NASA science missions conducted at lowaltitudes on Earth.

References:

None

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