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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

UAS Architecture for Distributed Sensing Operations

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

UAS Architecture for Distributed Sensing Operations
NASA seeks Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) for Earth science data collection for missions with variable durations, operating proximities, altitudes, and environmental conditions. Of particular interest is the Ice Bridge mission, which takes observations in support of Arctic and Antarctic research by identifying ice sheet motion, three-dimensional ice features, and other atmospheric and surface effects. These UAS aircraft may be equipped with a variety of sensors, with each aircraft potentially completing a unique set of objectives, only some of which take advantage of or require distributed sensing. Such a flexible system demands that vehicles be capable of seamless entry and exit of aircraft from any distributed sensing task. The approach proposed here satisfies these needs through a distributed sensing architecture that allows cluster sensor information to interface with and influence a multi-aircraft, high-precision, closed-loop path planning and control system. In addition, the UAS path planner is capable of managing dynamic flight regimes, including high winds and turbulence, while ensuring proper target tracking. This combination of features maximizes mission utility and path repeatability. More »

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