Numerica Develops Next Generation Collision Avoidance Technology for NASA

Numerica was recently awarded a two-year, $600,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop collision prediction capabilities for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operating in the National Airspace System (NAS).

The NAS is a complex and shared network of people, procedures, equipment and infrastructure that ensures safe and timely air transportation in the United States and over large portions of the world’s oceans. NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration are working together on next-generation improvements to the NAS, and both organizations recognize an urgent need to safely integrate UAS into the nation’s complex aviation system.

Incorporating unmanned vehicles into national airspace is highly beneficial to important missions in the areas of scientific research, national security, emergency response and disaster relief. However, such vehicles are grossly underutilized in these areas because they lack reliable collision-avoidance technology to ensure safe operation in the NAS.

Numerica research scientist Jason Adaska, Ph.D., is leading his company’s efforts to create a sense-and-avoid capability to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace. Adaska’s research team has developed novel methods for producing robust and reliable trajectory predictions over long time horizons, and the Numerica scientists are working with Colorado Engineering Inc. to model its USTAR collision avoidance radar for feasibility testing.

“We are thrilled to support the good work NASA is doing to prevent collisions in our national airspace,” said Numerica President Jeff Poore. “It’s rewarding work that makes a difference.”