In response to the ONR AACUS proposal solicitation, Aurora and the Near Earth Autonomy/Carnegie-Mellon University (Aurora and NEA/CMU) will develop the sensing and perception subsystem and the motion-planning and autonomy subsystem for the AACUS program. JPL will support the NEA/CMU team in the areas of terrain relative navigation for GPS-denied flight conditions, terrain classification, hazard detection, landing site selection, and system integration and real-time demonstrations.
This task will focus on the approach, descent, and landing phases of operation with emphasis on autonomous obstacle avoidance in low-level flight and navigation. Obstacles could be static (i.e., towers, trees, rocks, slopes) or dynamic, (i.e., no fly zones due to enemy activity). Capabilities developed must incorporate autonomous mission planning technologies in an open architecture framework that interface seamlessly with the air vehicle and UAS network and control infrastructures—in other words, AACUS is focused on the sensor suite and interface development under an open source-type architecture. A human operator with no special skills in operating a VTOL aircraft should be able to supervise and request services from this system. The program will involve multiple demonstrations of these technologies and framework on two separate airframes in progressively challenging scenarios as the AACUS system is matured through program execution. It is intended that there will be incremental risk reduction flight tests in order to develop the various subsystems.
Yang Cheng - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Office of Naval Reseaerch (ONR)