Helicopter Remote Manipulation of External Slingloads (HERMES)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911W6-06-C-0021
Agency Tracking Number: A052-057-2318
Amount: $119,954.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: A05-057
Solicitation Number: 2005.2
Small Business Information
6767 Old Madison Pike, Suite 410, Huntsville, AL, 35806
DUNS: 363526914
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Granade
 Senior Scientist
 (256) 971-0036
Business Contact
 Kim Nelson
Title: Business Manager
Phone: (256) 971-0036
Email: contracts@aos-inc.com
Research Institution
Helicopter operations in low visibility conditions and sling load operations continue to add risk to aviation operations. If slingloads could be picked up without use of a ground crew, lives could be saved. In addition, a sensor that could detect obstacles as well as the load would help in low-visibility conditions. We propose to develop such a system. It will include the mechanical structures necessary for uncrewed operation and automatic electrical grounding of the helicopter, the sensors for locating the loads and surrounding obstacles, and integration in both the helicopter technical systems and the operational procedures for acquiring external loads. In this approach, the ground crew will only set the load in place and ensure that the latching mechanism is properly deployed. Our baseline approach is to modify existing technologies. For the external load hook mechanisms, use a variant of an existing automatic docking system such as Michigan Aerospace's Autonomous Microsatellite Docking System (AMDS). For sensors, use two different sensing technologies. The first locates the load's hook mechanism location with respect to the helicopter's hook. The second scans the surroundings and provide information about altitude and obstacle location. The information is given to the crew through one or more monitors.

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

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