Autonomous Collision Avoidance and Separation Assurance for Small UAVs Operating in the National Airspace System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-08-M-0198
Agency Tracking Number: N081-079-0593
Amount: $69,837.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N08-079
Solicitation Number: 2008.1
Small Business Information
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202, Charlottesville, VA, 22901
DUNS: 120839477
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Matthew Lichter
 Research Scientist
 (434) 973-1215
Business Contact
 Connie Hoover
Title: General Manager
Phone: (434) 973-1215
Research Institution
Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) are presently restricted from operating within the vast National Airspace System (NAS) covering most of North America. The proposed effort seeks to develop FAA-certifiable collision avoidance and separation assurance algorithms that guarantee safe interoperation of small UAVs and other aircraft in the NAS. Small UAVs pose additional size, weight, and power (SWaP) limitations that make this problem especially difficult. The proposed effort adapts and integrates two novel technologies. A rapid collision avoidance algorithm first developed by MIT for unmanned ground vehicles is adapted and unified with an efficient hybrid D* path re-planning algorithm developed previously by the authors. These technologies are chosen specifically for: (1) their robust real-time performance using very limited computation; (2) their accommodation of substantial sensor, disturbance, and modeling uncertainty; and (3) their generation of maneuvers that are guaranteed to be dynamically feasible. The proposed concept is designed to handle dynamic obstacle aircraft that may or may not be cooperative or well-sensed. Because the collision-avoidance and path-planning components both generate complete, realizable trajectories (rather than waypoints), tracking errors can be bounded and aircraft separation can be assured with the highest levels of confidence.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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