4D Flightpath-Based Autonomous Separation Assurance Systems (ASAS)
Award last edited on: 3/4/23

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
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Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Joseph Thompson

Company Information

4-D Avionic Systems LLC

301 S 4th Street #200
Manhattan, KS 66502
   (785) 317-2131
Location: Single
Congr. District: 07
County: Riley

Phase I

Contract Number: 2111827
Start Date: 1/1/22    Completed: 12/31/23
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to enable the safe and autonomous management and control of airspace. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sectors are expected to grow but that will only be economically viable if the UAV and AAM operations are highly automated. The technology developed in this project uses a new trajectory-based approach to aircraft and airspace operations to support that level of automation. The immediate focus of the project is on the emerging AAM aircraft and airspace, but the technology has an even broader potential impact for application to the commercial Air Traffic Control (ATC) system. In the United States, over a period of one year, over 1800 operational errors (breaches of minimum required separation) were officially attributed to airspace controller error. The commercial ATC is largely a manual system and and there is a limit to the number of flights air traffic controllers can manage with incremental improvements of the present system. Expansions in the number of airborne vehicles (of all sorts) requires that air traffic control systems be more automated to maintain their safety record.This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to produce a functioning proof-of-concept demonstration of an autonomous aircraft and airspace management and control system for AAM class vehicles. These aviation sectors are expected to see a rapid expansion but the highly manual implementation of airspace control will not be practical or economically viable. The objective of this research is to support a much higher level of automation, enabling the growth of the sectors. Aircraft missions are defined by 4D analytic flightpath models; Aircraft are must precisely follow the flightpaths set by the models. Deterministic and certain algorithms autonomously detect and resolve potential loss of separation events between flightpath models of all aircraft in the airspace. The autopilots allow the aircraft to operate autonomously and the deconfliction ensures safe operation of the airspace. Development of the proposed demonstration system will identify and resolve communication and integration issues. The demonstration system seeks to provide a test case to evaluate the viability, scalability, and robustness of the technology and to explore the responses to nonstandard and unforeseen operating conditions.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Phase II

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Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
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