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Intelligent Systems Division Will Help Ames Host DARPA "Hackfest" Event November 11-17
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Intelligent Systems Division Will Help Ames Host DARPA "Hackfest" Event November 11-17

NASA Ames will be hosting the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) “Hackfest” event November 11-17 at the NASA Ames Conference Center and the NASA small Unmanned aerial systems Autonomy Research Complex (NUARC). This is a single event in DARPA’s ongoing series of Hackfests. The NASA point of contact for this event is Mark Micire, a Civil Servant in the Intelligent Systems Division (and also a former DARPA employee). He has experience coordinating similar events and will be working with fellow Intelligent Robotics Group member Rusty Hunt, who is also the NUARC Facility Operations Manager, as a Monitor/Range Marshall for this event. Mark has been working closely with ARC Spectrum Manager Bill Notley to ensure that radios used for this event meet his criteria for use on base.

As part of the event, approved participants will be flying small quadcopters provided by DARPA, which have been retrofitted with Software Defined Radios (SDRs) as part of the DARPA goal to demonstrate how Radio Frequency (RF) comms can be improved to provide better connectivity to the vehicles. All activities related to flight of the vehicles in the NUARC will follow the rules and policies established in the NUARC Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Safety Plan, as approved last year. No flight activities will occur outside of M045. The Conference Center will be used for talks, brainstorming sessions, and non-flying work on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and radios.

DARPA is installing (and gifting to Ames when the event is over) a new floor-to-ceiling net down the center of the facility, to better segregate the flight teams from observers, and allow for larger flight and observation areas. There will be a public viewing session scheduled for the final day of the event.

BACKGROUND: DARPA’s Hackfest mission “is designed to explore and better understand the complex relationships we are creating within the ElectroMagnetic (EM) spectrum and examine, in particular, the cyber-physical intersection of SDRs and remotely piloted aircraft.” Ames participation and hosting of this event supports Ames Research Center (ARC) missions in UAV Traffic Management (UTM) and UAV Automation Research. Also, DARPA and ARC security personnel are coordinating for the event.


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