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Code TI Members Participate in NASA/DLR Collaboration Meeting on "Unmanned Freight Operation"
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Code TI Members Participate in NASA/DLR Collaboration Meeting on "Unmanned Freight Operation"

A meeting between NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and the German Aerospace Center, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), took place on March 14, 2017, in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA ARC. The DLR delegation included Dr. Juergen Drescher, head of the DLR Liaison Office in Washington D.C., and Mr. Florian Adolf from the DLR Institute of Flight Systems, Braunschweig, Germany. The meeting was attended by more than 25 people from the NASA Ames Office of the Director of Aeronautics, the Intelligent Systems Division, the Human Systems Integration Division, the Aviation Systems Division, and the NASA Ames Government and External Relations Office.

The capabilities of the Intelligent Systems Division were presented by Dr. Nhan Nguyen and researchers in the Advanced Control and Evolvable Systems (ACES) group on intelligent adaptive control and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) autonomy; Dr. Guillaume Brat on software Verification and Validation (V&V); and Dr. Kai Goebel and researchers in the Discovery and Systems Health (DaSH) technical area on real-time safety modeling. Additionally, Dr. David Foyle of the Human Systems Integration Division presented a proposed collaboration on autonomous surface operations.

A discussion was led by Mr. Joe Totah, Associate Division Chief for Aeronautics of the Intelligent Systems Division, to identify general topics of potential collaboration. These topics will be further iterated between NASA and DLR in the next few weeks. Following the discussion, DLR personnel were given tours of the Advanced Controls Technologies (ACT) lab and the Systems Health, Analytics, Resilience & Physics modeling (SHARP) lab in the Intelligent Systems Division. At the end of the day, an exit meeting with the Office of the Director of Aeronautics was conducted.

BACKGROUND: The meeting was initiated by Mr. Adolf through his American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) contact with Dr. Nhan Nguyen. Mr. Adolf is the Team Lead for the Mission Planning and Execution Group in DLR’s Department of Unmanned Aircraft. His research in autonomy of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) motivated him to organize a meeting with the Intelligent Systems Division to explore collaboration opportunities. Mr. Adolf presented a DLR-guiding concept of "unmanned freight operations”. This guiding concept is viewed as a potential revolutionary concept of operations for future autonomous cargo freighters. These freighters are envisioned to include a wide variety of vehicle configurations, from fixed-wing to rotary-wing aircraft. The autonomous capabilities being developed include adaptive control, real-time path planning, computer vision, software V&V, and more.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: The Shadow Mode Assessment using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System (SMART-NAS) project, Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP), Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD).

PARTICIPANTS: DLR, the NASA Office of the Director of Aeronautics, the Intelligent Systems Division, the Human Systems Integration Division, the Aviation Systems Division, and the NASA Ames Government and External Relations Office

POINT OF CONTACT: Dr. Nhan Nguyen, nhan.t.nguyen@nasa.gov

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