Affordable Control/Trajectory Management Systems for Unmanned Air or Space Vehicles

Period of Performance: 03/30/2001 - 12/30/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Applied Systems Intelligence, Inc.
3650 Brookside Parkway Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Principal Investigator


There is a major need for unmanned vehicles that act autonomously from humans, thereby reducing both the amount of supervision necessary and the cost associated with their operation. In order to accomplish this task, autonomous vehicles must have the ability to make decisions, assess their health and environment, dynamically re-plan, and control their movements in a dynamic and unpredictable environment. Our goal is to design an affordable control technique that 1) reduces the necessary human interaction, 2) responds to both anticipated and unanticipated events, 3) allows easy verification and validation of vehicle behavior, and 4) is as effective as an equivalent manned vehicle. In order to meet these objectives, ASI plans to implement an associate decision aiding system that uses knowledge about the environment and context in which it is operating, as well as the potential purposes of the system and its operators. It can act in concert with one or more humans to perform complex tasks, and is designed explicitly to work interactively and cooperatively with human counterparts, unlike either conventional automation or autonomous software agents.Demand for unmanned vehicle systems continues to grow in every major world region. The United States, as well as many foreign countries have UAVs, all of which could take advantage of our system. Military systems can also utilize components of our technology, by implementing data fusion and situation assessment capabilities. Data fusion can be part of a collaborative intelligence network. Situation assessment technology can be used in a variety of domains, including battlefield management, flight operations, and mission planning. Although military procurement will continue to represent the majority of industry revenues, intense competition in military markets will force some companies to gear new marketing efforts toward civil and commercial customers. As such, ASI plans to broaden the market for associate systems by pursuing commercial opportunities for our technology and products, particularly in air traffic management, general aviation and agricultural vehicles. Specifically, from this SBIR, we expect to apply the concepts of controlling unmanned vehicles to agricultural domains, from combines to professional turf maintenance vehicles. We also expect to utilize advanced flight navigation concepts in unmanned Department of Transportation traffic monitoring and police surveillance vehicles. In addition to using our technology in unmanned systems, we can also extract components of the total system for use in situation assessment displays and data fusion applications. Our situation assessment module would be particularly successful in an advanced cockpit setting, like that proposed by the FAA's Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) program. This program is designed, in part, to develop affordable, low-cost, intuitive cockpit displays that provide situation, weather, and traffic awareness to support Free Flight. Data fusion can also be used in public safety and emergency management venues, where information gathering and synthesis is necessary.