The Intelligent Systems Division of the Exploration Technology Directorate supports NASA's Aeronautics Mission Directorate through “Advancing NASA’s Aeronautics Research”
To create the new face of 21st century aviation, and streamline and enhance global civil aviation, innovative intelligent systems research is producing revolutionary new aerospace technologies that will help shape the future of the industry.
Intelligent Systems Division inputs to the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate are as follows:
Aviation Safety/System-wide Safety and Assurance Technologies Project:
“Validated, proactive solutions for ensuring safety in flight and operations”
- Aviation Safety Program, SSAT Project
- Aviation Safety Program, VSST Project
- Fundamental Aeronautics Program, Fixed-Wing Project
- Integrated Systems Research Program, UAS in the NAS Project
- High-level description of other ARMD efforts in Code TI
The System-Wide Safety and Assurance Technologies (SSAT) project identifies risks and provides knowledge required to safely manage increasing complexity in the design and operation of vehicles and the air transportation systems, including advanced approaches to enable improved and cost-effective verification and validation of flight-critical systems. The Project addresses the following challenges:
Develop verification and validation tools for manufacturers and certifiers to use to assure flight critical systems are safe in a rigorous and cost- and time-effective manner.
Understand and Predict system-wide safety concerns of the airspace system and the vehicles by developing technologies that can utilize vehicle and system data to accurately identify precursors to potential incidents or accidents.
Understand the key parameters of human performance which provide the human contribution to safety in aviation.
Predict the remaining useful life of complex systems by reasoning under uncertainty about root causes (diagnosis) and predict faults and remaining useful life (prognosis) across multiple systems.
Highlight on Aviation Safety
Aviation Safety/Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies Project:
“Improve vehicle safety by proactively mitigating current and future risks”
Assure effectiveness through comprehensive test and evaluation. The Project addresses the following challenges:
Improve crew decision-making and response in complex situations: Research efforts are focused on mode and energy state awareness in highly automated flight decks, as well as maintaining proficiency in highly automated flight decks.
Maintain vehicle safety between major inspections: Research includes wire fault diagnostics, as well as dynamic assessment for structural health.
Assure safe and effective aircraft control under hazardous conditions: Studies include maneuverability estimation, upset prevention, and upset onset detection.
Highlight on Aviation Systems
Fundamental Aeronautics/Fixed-Wing Project:
“Elastic Aircraft Flight Control”
The research performed under this task is a multidisciplinary effort that involves the following disciplines: aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, and flight dynamics and control. These disciplines are integrated into a common research framework to produce a multidisciplinary integrated solution approach that will address the Fixed-Wing Project goal of improved energy efficiency in future generation advanced aircraft concepts. The research effort leverages collaboration across the NASA research centers (ARC, DFRC, and LaRC), as well as partnerships with industry (Boeing) and academia. The outputs of this effort are:
New design and analysis tools
Advanced design methodologies
Highlight on Fundamental Aeronautics
Integrated Systems Research/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS):
“To contribute capabilities that reduce technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges associated with enabling routine UAS access to the NAS”
There is an increasing need to fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) to perform missions of vital importance to national security and defense, emergency management, science, and to enable commercial applications. One example of this is the use of the Predator UAS by the Department of Homeland Security to fly along our nation's borders. UAS are unable to routinely access the NAS today due to a lack of automated separation assurance integrated with collision avoidance systems, robust communication technologies, robust human systems integration, and standardized safety and certification guidelines. The studies performed at NASA Ames/Code TI directly support the ‘standardized safety and certification’ effort of the project, and focus on:
Data mining and data artifacts for airworthiness
Safety analysis methods
Hazard and risk data analysis
Highlight on Integrated Systems and Unmanned Aircraft Systems
High-level description of other ARMD efforts in Intelligent Systems Division:
Fundamental Aeronautics Program, Rotary-Wing Project:
“Low Noise Airport Operations”
Minimizing the acoustic impact of rotorcraft flight operations starts with formulation of the noise optimization problem; once the problem has been mathematically described, methodologies for solving it efficiently can then be developed. Working closely with our Acoustics colleagues at LaRC, we will investigate alternative ways of solving the same problem using algorithmic techniques developed and implemented at ARC based on Constraint Optimization Problems (COP), including an implementation of a standard "Branch and Bound" algorithm. We will explore the viability of a 3D representation of the trajectory space, and design and implement constraint-based solutions techniques that can be applied to increasingly larger, and more complex problem spaces.
Airspace Systems Program, Concepts and Technology Development Project:
“Traffic Flow Management (TFM) under Weather Uncertainty”
This effort involves building on the baseline TFM Evaluator system by developing an initial agile, iterative approach for managing traffic flows that account for flight operator preferences while leveraging state-of-the-art weather translation models in the 0-2 hour look-ahead time horizon.
“ATM Semantic Web Technologies”
Create a prototype system that integrates data across the multiple ATM data sources stored in the ATM Data Warehouse. The prototype will use semantic web technologies and will establish the feasibility of providing complex search and visualization capabilities to ATM researchers.
“Verification and Validation (V&V) Methodologies for Separation Assurance (SA) Algorithms and Software”
There is risk that the size and complexity of SA software may overwhelm the ability of conventional software V&V methods to assure a level of software quality acceptable for safety-critical systems. For example, conventional methods may be unable to provide adequate coverage for may be cost prohibitive. The research objective is to adapt existing V&V methodologies (e.g. Formal Methods, compositional approaches, adaptive approaches) or develop new ones in order to provide a credible path to achieving an acceptable level of V&V for this highly automated, highly complex application.