UTM : Unmanned Traffic Management for UAS in low-altitude airspace. This project includes the development and demonstration of a possible future UTM system that could safely enable low-altitude airspace and UAS operations. Robust flight software and integrated ground solutions will be central to this effort. The Windhover ecosystem is quite complimentary to this effort. AOS : Autonomy Operating System, which is building smart drones on top of CFS and Artificial Intelligence reasoning engines. Although AOS is using different computer hardware, it will benefit from the Phase II certification efforts targeting CFS outlined in this proposal. AOS is a feasibility study that will sunset after 2017, though will potentially evolve into another technical challenge. There is also considerable potential for crossover benefit from the human exploration mission directorate, which has embraced CFS in some of its space flight software projects, like the backup flight computer for Orion. NASA is proving to be a major player in the integration of UAS into the national airspace. Many of the current ideas will require that the low altitude airspace be mapped and cataloged. NASA would be a good choice for these multi-sensor data acquisition flights. NASA could use Windhover / Aerotenna powered UAS missions to fly the necessary flights to create the map of low altitude airspace. These maps could then be used by others to safely fly through these areas.
Many potential UAS application developers cannot overcome the barrier to entry that is presented by safety related concerns. With a safety critical flight software (FSW) framework in place, they can focus on their problem space without needing extensive FSW experience. The Windhover ecosystem enables UAS application developers to quickly create application solutions that stand on the shoulders of a rock-solid platform. Java Script / Python user applications and the use of industry standard IT solutions at the heart of operations console brings UAS software development to a huge existing base of IT professionals. The contrast with expensive, proprietary aerospace technologies opens up tremendous commercial potential for 3rd parties to add on and enhance the Windhover ecosystem. The UAS operator can create applications to streamline a workflow, test a variety of simulated scenarios, and ensure their application is robust. Once satisfied, they can sell their application to other operators in the Windhover ecosystem. In contrast to other UAS FSW platforms, the Windhover ecosystem is both certifiable and open, enabling expansion through additional applications by 3rd parties which will energize the commercial market for UAS. Windhover has successfully brought the open NASA CFS platform to the UAS domain, built a solid tool chain, and deployed a scalable operations solution. The Phase II products and certification round out a complete, powerful ecosystem.