The proposed vision-based automation system for taxi operations align with multiple strategic thrusts of the NASA Aeronautics Strategic Implementation Plan. For ARMD Strategic Thrust 1 on Safe, Efficient Growth in Global Operations, the proposed technology will contribute towards NextGen operational performance, surface operations to realize Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO), and autonomous trajectory services. For ARMD Strategic Thrust 5 on Real-time System-Wide Safety Assurance, the technology will contribute towards improved safety through real-time detection and alerting of hazards, and human-automation teaming for optimum threat management. Finally, for ARMD Strategic Thrust 6 on Assured Autonomy for Aviation Transformation, the automation technology will contribute towards the candidate mission products of autonomous airport surface operations, autonomy-enhanced vehicle safety, and fully autonomous transport aircraft.
In the near term, the envisioned technologies will improve safety during taxi operations, with collision detection and avoidance capabilities that will benefit manufacturers of large airplanes. In the U.S., these include primarily Boeing for commercial transport aircraft, joined by Lockheed Martin when military transports are considered. In the far term, the envisioned automation technologies provide additional navigation data based on recognition of airport signage and airfield features that will improve situation awareness of the flight crew. Another set of technologies will enable autonomous taxi operations to realize Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO). These automation technologies will be of interest to avionics manufacturers such as Honeywell and Rockwell Collins, and air carriers in general.