System of Systems (SoS) Certification Techniques

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
Vecna Technologies Inc.
MD, Suite 500, Greenbelt, MD, 20770-1423
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Andreas Hofmann
 VP of Autonomous Soluti
 (617) 864-0636
Business Contact
 Alan Vail
Title: Deputy General Counsel
Phone: (617) 674-8247
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: Deployment of interesting autonomous capabilities has been hindered by the difficulty of validating and verifying such systems. Vecna will address this challenging problem by investigating and developing four key desirable characteristics of such systems: that they be declarative, generative, self-aware, and prescient. Declarative means that behavior is defined by declarative constraints, rather than by procedural code. Generative means that the system is built from separately validated components that interact within an inferencing environment to produce behavior. Self-aware means that the system is aware of its own internal state, including the functional status of its components. Prescient means that the system is able to predict the chances of success of a particular course of action. These characteristics, combined, have the potential to dramatically improve V & V for complex autonomous systems. Vecna will leverage significant, recent advances in the field of model-based autonomy to develop prototypes of systems with these characteristics. In order to ground the analysis, Vecna will use its own robotic systems, QCBot and RPR, as testbeds for evaluating the technology. QCBot is a hospital delivery robot, and RPR is used in warehouse logistics applications. BENEFIT: The technology proposed is useful to a broad range of government and commercial applications consisting of extensively networked automated systems comprised of many interconnected discrete deployments of software and hardware. Using this technology, customers will be able to monitor automated system components and diagnose component faults and failures, test systems for proper behaviors, upgrade individual components and verify uninterrupted performance, and optimize system parameters. For commercial markets, clear applications include: power grids and energy delivery infrastructure; cooperative teams of robots in healthcare and logistics;"smart"buildings with automated climate and electrical system control; and public infrastructure like sewage/water treatment and traffic control systems. Government applications include: coordinated unmanned robotic teams for aerial and ground reconnaissance, shipbuilding and painting, EOD disposal, and logistics/resupply/materials handling; automated airborne refueling control systems; automated weapons platforms; aerospace vehicles; and distributed command/control systems.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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