Autonomous Broad Spectrum Environmental Sentinels

Period of Performance: 07/08/2016 - 07/07/2017


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Nevada Nanotech Systems, Inc.
1315 Greg Street #103 Array
Sparks, NV 89431
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Utah
75 S 2000 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Institution POC


The goal of this program is to develop an autonomous, hover-capable, flying robot with an onboard chemical sensor chip for chemical surveillance and environmental monitoring. The key capabilities of this integrated system will be, in order of priority: 1. Real-time chemical sensing and data transfer to a base station. The final platform will detect and identify airborne chemicals using the Molecular Property Spectrometer (MPS)a low-cost, MEMS-based, lab-on-a-chip platform, developed with funding from DARPA, the DOD and various industrial development partners. This chip is capable of delivering comprehensive multi-mode orthogonal chemical analysis in a very lightweight form factor. 2. Inter-unit communication and swarming. Utilizing real-time chemical and flight data, the unit will be capable of coordinating with other airborne units during surveillance of a given area to, for example, localize and profile a contaminant source. 3. The potential for self-powering. The flight vehicle is a highly maneuverable multi-rotor (quadcopter) platform, equipped with flight sensors to enable detection and avoidance of obstacles and GPS for navigation. Software will be developed to enable chemical mapping missions over a user-specified region. The system will be field tested at a government test site, and a functional prototype with user software delivered to the Army.