Weather Avoidance Sensor Systems for Unmanned Aerial Systems
Navy SBIR 2018.2 - Topic N182-099
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick - email@example.com
Opens: May 22, 2018 - Closes: June 20, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-262
Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems
OBJECTIVE: Develop an
enhanced approach to unmanned aircraft weather avoidance using a combination of
organic weather radar and electro-optics.
DESCRIPTION: In manned
aviation, the pilot complements Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography
Center (FNMOC)-provided weather products by considering visual cues along with
the information provided by the onboard weather radar. Visual cues become a
vital tool for an experienced pilot. Weather radar has limitations and visual
cues can help mitigate those limitations. For instance, onboard radar alone is
inadequate at detecting icing, hail, lightning, or turbulence and at providing
the most expeditious escape route if encountered. Pilot sensory (mostly visual)
cues assist in detecting and avoiding these weather hazards. Listening to the
radio chatter of other pilots operating in the vicinity can also be very
helpful. Lack of a pilot on the aircraft calls for development of mitigation
strategies via an enhanced approach to unmanned aircraft weather avoidance
using organic weather radar and electro-optics. For example, during certain
mission phases there may be visual information available to the air vehicle
operator (AVO) from the onboard Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) mission
sensor, to aid in weather avoidance when combined with weather radar returns.
PHASE I: Demonstrate the
feasibility of concepts for enhancing weather avoidance through the combined
use of organic weather radar and electro-optics. Develop the supporting
architecture to implement on a Navy unmanned aircraft. Show specific
consideration of not impacting tactical mission success due to the use of
mission sensors for weather avoidance using a fast time simulation to establish
timeline impacts. Develop EO/IR height estimation algorithm and modeling.
Perform a system level error analysis. Develop plans for a prototype to be
developed in Phase II.
PHASE II: Demonstrate the
concepts developed in Phase I through field tests using representative sensors
in a range of weather conditions. Develop a transition plan to integrate the
capability on candidate platforms.
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Complete development of a system and integrate it into a Navy
unmanned platform. Weather detection and avoidance are essential capabilities
for all unmanned aircraft. As use of unmanned aircraft in the commercial sector
grows, so will the benefit of the technology developed under this SBIR topic.
1. Barr, J. “Airborne weather
radar: a user's guide.” 1st edition. Iowa State University Press, 1993.
2. Battan, L. “Radar
observation of the atmosphere.” University of Chicago Press, 1973.
KEYWORDS: Unmanned Aerial
Systems; Weather Detection; Airborne Weather Radar; Optical Weather Detection;