Flexible engine for Fast-time evaluation of Flight environments Fe<sup>3</sup>

information technology and software
Flexible engine for Fast-time evaluation of Flight environments Fe3 (TOP2-290)
An evaluation tool for low-altitude air traffic operations
In the concepts of Unmanned aircraft system Traffic Management (UTM) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM), aerial vehicles are envisioned to operate much closer to each other in low-altitude airspace than in conventional high altitude air traffic system and, therefore, impose challenges not only to the vehicle design, but also to the development of a safe yet efficient low-altitude air traffic system. NASA Ames developed a first of its kind air traffic simulation tool known as Flexible engine for Fast time evaluation of Flight environments Fe3. The patent-pending technology is a robust simulation tool that provides the capability of statistically analyzing the high-density and low-altitude traffic system. With this capability, stakeholders can study the impacts of critical components (such as wind, surveillance, communication, collision, avoidance, traffic rules, energy consumption, etc.) in the low-altitude high-density traffic system, gain insights and help define requirements, policies, and protocols for a safe and efficient traffic system, and assess operational risks and optimize fight schedules.

The Technology
A Flexible engine for Fast-time evaluation of Flight environments Fe3 simulation tool provides the capability of statistically analyzing high-density, high-fidelity, and low-altitude traffic system without conducting infeasible and cost-prohibitive flight tests that involve a large volume of aerial vehicles. This simulation tool includes comprehensive models for high-volume traffic operations, such as six degrees of freedom unmanned vehicle dynamics and control models, navigation communication and sensor models, wind models, and conflict resolution models using cloud computing and Graphic Process Units (GPUs) technologies to achieve a high level of computational performance. With its high computational performance, the simulation tool is capable of performing thousands of Monte Carlo simulations for high volume aircraft operations in minutes so that researchers can readily conduct uncertainty studies and obtain statistical results. This simulation tool also provides a flexible input structure allowing researchers to study a wide range of parameters in large scale aerial operations. A conceptual architecture of Fe3's core simulation engine is presented in Fig. 1. It is composed of two main functions: trajectory generation and collision avoidance. To meet the demanding computational performance requirements of Monte Carlo simulations of the traffic system, Fe3 is highly-parallelized using the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) programming language on GPUs. It is deployed on the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud for scalability needs such that the number of GPU instances can be dynamically deployed based on simulation needs. The technology is a first of its kind in air traffic management simulation tool capable of performing uncertainty analysis on large volumes of aircraft operations within minutes, all neatly wrapped in a web-based application.
Fig 1. Architecture of Fe3 s core simulation engine
Fig 2: Cloud Architecture
Front Image: Simulation of small UAVs operating in an urban environment
  • High computational performance due to utilization of cutting-edge cloud and GPU processing technologies, and inclusion of comprehensive models involving high-volume low-altitude traffic operations
  • Modular and flexible user-input capabilities - users can input their vehicle models into the system configuration file in order to test new vehicles and rules within the simulation
  • Generalized and high-fidelity models for trajectory calculation of various aerial vehicles, including multi-copter, fixed-wing, and hybrid aerial vehicles
  • Key features include - subsystem models (communication, navigation, surveillance, conflict management, weather, etc.) critical to the traffic system
  • Can easily convert to a SaaS (software as a service) product for the adopting companies
  • Assesses the airborne risk with a near real-time performance
  • Web-based output and visualization are implemented to facilitate post-analysis

  • Unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) and urban air mobility (UAM) airspaces and vehicles
  • UTM service providers
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industry
  • UAV insurance companies
  • Airborne risk assessment companies
  • Regulators such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Technology Details

information technology and software

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