The proposed program will continue the development of an innovative avionics technology called Attitude Control Enhancement using Strain sensors (ACES). This technology is a form of Dynamic Servoelastic Control (DSE). The ACES system directly supports the NASA Robotics, Tele-Robotics, and Autonomous Systems, Dynamic Servoelastic Network Control, Modeling, and Optimization topic under the NASA Small Business Technology Transfer program wherein stated objectives include "DSE control for performance enhancements while minimizing dynamic interaction," "distributed networked sensing and control for vehicle shape, vibration, and load control," and "data-driven multi-objecting DSE control with physics-based sensing." With the performance enhancement provided by a distributed array of strain gauges and fly-by-feel flight control techniques, benefits such as improved precision flying task performance, active shape control to better meet mission requirements, and assessing and adapting to major damage becomes an accomplishable proposition.
The commercial potential for the ACES concept includes the large application area of Unmanned Air Vehicles. Flexible vehicles both large and small will be able to use DSE phenomena for increased attitude performance and aeroelastic tailoring. Enabling technologies are flexible wing design, strain sensor arrays, and associated flight control. A summary of the market potential is quoted below from the Defense Industry Daily, 3rd Annual Command and Control Summit, June 29-July 1, 2011: "Market research firm Forecast International recently released 'The Market for UAV Reconnaissance Systems,' which claims that the total UAV market including air vehicles, ground control equipment and payloads is expected to be worth $13.6 billion through 2014. More than 9,000 UAVs are expected to be purchased over the next 10 years by countries in every region of the world, and Forecast International does not include funding for RDT&E and operations and maintenance in its analysis."