Intelligent Simulation-based Test Methods for Certification of Advanced Planning Algorithms
Navy SBIR FY2015.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2015.2
Topic No.: N152-084
Topic Title: Intelligent Simulation-based Test Methods for Certification of Advanced Planning Algorithms
Proposal No.: N152-084-0523
Firm: Barron Associates, Inc.
1410 Sachem Place
Suite 202
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901-2496
Contact: Neha Gandhi
Phone: (434) 973-1215
Abstract: The robustness and operational flexibility of UAS will be significantly enhanced through the integration of autonomous path-planning algorithms that modify system behavior based on changing mission requirements and environmental factors. Many such algorithms have been developed, but the certification of these algorithms typically involves brute-force testing in high-fidelity simulation, which is a significant challenge that impedes widespread adoption in operational UAS. The overall goal of the Phase I research effort is to develop a methodology for certification of autonomous path-planning algorithms for UAS that significantly reduces the computational burden relative to brute-force testing. The proposed approach is based on the application of advanced analysis methods to computationally optimized simulation models to gain insight into combinations of inputs and test parameters that may lead to undesirable behavior of the system being evaluated. These results are used to intelligently guide simulation-based testing that uses the full high-fidelity simulation. The team will show the applicability of the test methodology to two different classes of planning algorithm: a deterministic heuristic search-based algorithm and a non-deterministic random sample-based algorithm. The results will be used to show that analysts can draw similar conclusions about the airworthiness of a planning algorithm as an exhaustive brute-force test.
Benefits: The test methodology developed under this program will allow analysts to draw similar conclusions about system safety as brute-force testing and enable the certification of advanced systems that are capable of fully integrated operations with the fleet. At the completion of Phase II, Barron Associates will have a commercially-viable product for certification of autonomous path-planning algorithms for UAS. The techniques developed during this effort are applicable to many areas such as (1) certification of technologies that enable high-level autonomous operation such as mission and fleet management, (2) certification of technologies for commercial aviation such as NextGen air traffic management, and (3) certification of technologies for intelligent use of automation in the automotive industry, manufacturing, and warehouse management.