Test and Certification Techniques for Autonomous Guidance and Navigation Algorithms for Navy Air Vehicle Missions

Period of Performance: 09/17/2015 - 03/16/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Near Earth Autonomy
5001 Baum Blvd. Suite 750 Array
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Near Earth Autonomy proposes to develop and prove the feasibility of new test and certification techniques for autonomous unmanned aerial systems (UAS) guidance and navigation algorithms. The adoption of autonomous UAS that can plan their own trajectories based on real-time sensor data while executing a complex mission, has been slow because the algorithms have not been shown to have sufficient performance or airworthiness. Advanced guidance and navigation algorithms that consider vehicle dynamics are challenging to certify because they can generate a very large number of possible plans to avoid collisions, and land on ships or at unprepared sites. We propose a general methodology that can be used to ensure correct behavior of a large class of unmanned aircraft. The key proposed innovations are a certifiable and testable architecture; a test case generation and benchmark approach; and a formal certification approach for the safety critical components that maximizes coverage with minimum effort. During Phase I Near Earth will design an architecture and tool-chain for testing and certification of guidance and navigation algorithms that is agnostic to the specific algorithmic implementation. The approach will be evaluated in case studies for ship-to-ship flight and cargo delivery missions.