A Modular Swarm Optimization Framework Enabling Multi-Vehicle Coordinated Path Planning

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 12/17/2015

$125K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Heron Systems, Inc.
22685 Three Notch Road Array
California, MD 20619
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The advancement of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with computing power and communications hardware has enabled an increased capability set for multi-vehicle collaborative operations. By cooperatively allocating unmanned resources, vehicle tasking, and planning the subsequent vehicle paths, the efficiency of UAS operations can be maximized. Heron Systems proposes the Multi-Agent Cooperative Engagement (MACE) framework that enables collaborative resource allocation, task allocation, and path planning for unmanned systems operating in dynamic environments subject to diverse communication conditions. This Phase 1 work will focus on the path planning portion of MACE, as path planning is an integral part of collaborative efforts in nearly every real world application. The path planning architecture will define key modules to plan paths to a global objective, assess potential obstacles, and avoid collisions while maintaining progress towards the global objective. The framework will be constructed in a modular fashion to allow a plug-and-play capability for the resource/task allocation as well as the various components of the path planning pipeline, giving end users the flexibility to explore other methods for UAS collaboration. At the conclusion of Phase 1, the MACE path planning capability will be demonstrated using Heron Systems' previously developed flexible UAS simulation suite and ISAAC software, promoting high fidelity hardware-in-the-loop simulation/stimulation testing with COTS hardware components.