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10.02.14 Skoog

Autonomy Incubator Seminar Series:
DEVELOPMENT AND FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION OF VARIABLE AUTONOMY AS APPLIED TO GROUND COLLISION AVOIDANCE

Mark Skoog, Project Manager and Chief Engineer for the Automatic Systems Project Office, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
October 2, 2014, 10:00 am, NASA LaRC Pearl Young Theater (Bldg. 2102, Rm 160)
Hosts: Danette Allen (NASA) and Fred Brooks (NIA)

Abstract
Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) remains a leading cause of fatalities in aviation. Although enhanced ground proximity warning and terrain awareness and warning systems have virtually eliminated CFIT for large commercial air carriers, the problem still remains for fighter aircraft, helicopters and general aviation resulting in roughly 90 deaths each year in the United States alone. This paper covers the initial design and evaluation of an improved system for ground collision avoidance that addresses many of the limitations of current technology. The system derives from the automatic ground collision avoidance system that is currently fielding in the USAF’s F-16 fleet. This derivative system added special features enabling significant increases in: terrain storage and fidelity, easily tailored and enhanced fidelity vehicle performance modeling, vehicle-appropriate avoidance techniques, enhanced terrain data handling, and use as either a warning system or, when coupled to an appropriate autopilot, an automatic recovery system. To demonstrate the portability of this software based system it was hosted on a conventional smart phone and adapted to and integrated into both a small unmanned aircraft as well as the Langley Cirrus SR22. Limited flight evaluations were conducted on both aircraft indicating promising advancements in CFIT protection as well as resistance to false warnings when operating in and around rough terrain. The goal is to create a useful safety enhancement, using portable mobile technology at an affordable cost.

Bio
Mark Skoog works for NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center as the Project Manager and Chief Engineer for their Automatic Systems Project Office. He also leads the Collision Avoidance Technical Stewardship Group for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Over the past 34 years he has supported numerous NASA and Air Force fighter and UAV research efforts as well as initial flight tests of the B-2. Focus areas have included the integration of flight controls and avionics with high authority autopilots to automatically accomplish all phases of fighter combat missions. More recently, much of his career has been in the development of automatic collision avoidance systems, for both ground and air.

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