Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.17K | Year: 2014
ABSTRACT: Due to increasing communications demand for tactical mission operations force the DoD to initiative to migrate the existing circuit-switched, bent-pipe satellite communication systems to the onboard packet switched satellite systems using Internet Protocols. The new approach offers significant flexibility and performance gain, but there are still tough challenges, e.g., high bit error rate, long round trip time, heterogeneous satellite nodes and end users, different end user QoS requirements, etc. To respond to this challenge, we propose Joint Transport and Routing Optimization for Adaptive Satellite Networks (JTRO-ASN) for the satellite network that establishes end-to-end routes in the space exploiting inter-satellite and inter-level links connecting satellites on different orbits and constellations that provide advantages of reducing ground station dependencies, decreasing end-to-end latencies and delays, and supporting traffic prioritization and distributing traffic loads via multiple available routes. To establish routes in the space, it uses predefined satellite orbits to predict the topology and to calculate routes. Furthermore, JTRO-ASN shares relevant information across the layer boundaries so that it achieves resource utilization and protocol operation optimization and improvements. Upon using inter-satellite and inter-level links, the routing algorithm is able to find multiple paths between satellites and with the cross-layer optimization approach; in addition, JTRO-ASN can support users QoS requirements. For example, it gives the highest priority flows more opportunities to reach the destination or it provides. Based on experience and Phase I achievements, i.e., routing protocol design, the JTRO-ASN team will develop and implement the network and transport protocols and present feasibility and performance of the protocols via demonstration. In addition, the team will conduct theoretical and analytical study for the satellite networking. BENEFIT: In order to meet the modern military mission critical operation requirements, secure, high bandwidth for a large number of heterogeneous war-fighting users is required. The proposed IP-based satellite network architecture will greatly benefit the Air Forces satellite communication programs by enabling the linkage of user preferences and network conditions, and significantly reducing both latency between network nodes, and transmission failures, among other identified objectives. UtopiaCompressions (UC) technologies will greatly enhance communications at the tactical edges, increasing mission efficiency and effectiveness and enhancing Air Force program objectives overall. Moreover, an enhanced broadband satellite communications system is a critical component of DoDs network centric state. Defense: Key Structural changes outlined in the U.S. DoDs FY 2011 budget will increase demand for secure, broadband satellite communications through increases in targeted personnel such as Special Forces, as well transformation of Army Multi-functional and Functional Support (MFF) brigades to a modular design. Enhanced satellite capabilities will, under the future paradigm, be driven down through the brigade to the company level. The growth rate of the military satellite communications sector is projected at 5.6 percent annual growth over the next ten years, dependent on the advent of critical enabling technologies like what UC proposes here. Current DoD programs which would benefit from UCs enabling satellite communications technologies include numerous ISR programs which will require significantly increased and reliable communications capabilities to deliver performance projections, as well as the UAVs which carry the ISR payloads and communicate with other mobile machines. Specific programs include the Global Hawk vehicles and the upgraded Predator drone, Gray Eagle. Transition opportunities for the proposed technologies exist within the Wideband Global SATCOM Deployment. Commercial Applications: The commercial potential for the proposed technology is significant and slated to grow substantially. Satellites worth a total of $250 billion should be launched over the course of the next 15 years, with 1,600 satellites by 2025. Drivers for this growth include GEO ComSat replacement, government contracts, Science and Navigation missions, and the Ka-band/HTS me too syndrome. UCs proposed routing technologies will be critical enabling components in support of this growth. UCs proposed technologies will also provide critical capabilities to the commercial Mobile Satellite Services market, which relies on reliable connection between heterogeneous, mobile devices. The global MSS market will grow to $10.2 billion in 2020, more than doubling from todays volume. The world Satellite Machine-to-Machine communications sector of MSS supports applications used for logistical tracking, telemetry, remote monitoring, geo fencing, security, and scientific monitoring, providing various benefits for industries ranging from agriculture to retail. This sector is strongly dominated by the United States which holds 62 percent market share and its revenue is estimated to reach $1.9 billion by 2016. UC will analyze optimal transition plans and entry points within this value chain over the course of Phases I and II to effectively maximize the commercial potential of the proposed technology.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.97K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, there has been a sustained interest in Global Positioning System (GPS) denied navigation technologies for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This has been primarily due to the well accepted susceptibility of GPS signals to intentional jamming or unintentional interference and blockage. One of the challenging problems in GPS-denied navigation is handing off moving targets of interest between multiple UAS without the aid of GPS. Two problems must be solved to enable hand-off in denied environments, namely, estimation of relative pose and proper handoff between UAS. In this Phase I effort, we will develop a robust multi-phase handoff approach and examine its feasibility of handing off a moving target between UAS in GPS-denied environments. We will conduct Monte-Carlo simulations to evaluate the handoff algorithms and characterize how the estimation error of relative pose will affect handing-off performance.; BENEFIT: UCs proposed product offering will enable target handoff between multiple UAS in GPS denied environments. Therefore, it will offer a substantial ROI to users of small UAVs as it will maximize the utility of expensive and leveraged hardware investments by increasing actionable ISR derived from existent systems and expanding mission capabilities and operational environments even where GPS is not available. UCs proposed technologies will also enable more automated and efficient operations of multiple UAVs, decreasing operator loads. This will be of substantial use as pilots are currently overworked and in limited supply.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2014
Remotely Operated Weapon Systems (ROWS) keep soldiers away from hostile situations while they take on the enemy and thus dramatically enhance the weapon lethality and increase soldiers survivability. However, current wide area threat detection capabilities for ROWS fall short of providing robust and continuous threat awareness. In this project, UtopiaCompression (UC) proposes to develop an innovative Hemispherical Threat Detection System (HTDS) to support ARMY's vision for achieving smart situation awareness in ROWS. Capitalizing on the successful Phase I system design and demo results, in Phase II, UC will not only fabricate a EO panoramic camera with full/expanded coverage of a hemispherical field of view at high image resolution, but also build an innovative video-based adaptive intelligent threat assessment software suite. The hemispherical camera hardware and the threat assessment software will be integrated into a complete HTDS prototype, providing real-time target detection and tracking, variable acuity of target resolution (triggered by threat level or user request), and threat recognition and alerting capabilities. The performance of the HTDS prototype will also be tested onboard suitable vehicle platforms to evaluate its real-time wide area situational awareness capability in complex and cluttered operational environments.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.98K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: Intelligent cooperative controller capable of continuous learning from offline and online experience is of sustained interest for a team of for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to execute complex missions in a dynamic environment. Current cooperative control technologies lack learning capability. Without the ability to learn, a cooperative system may not be able to react to unanticipated scenarios or adapt to dynamically changing environments in a correct and intelligent fashion, and therefore may lead to unsatisfactory system performance or even mission failure. In collaboration with Brigham Young University, UtopiaCompression Corporation proposed to develop an intelligent solution to target tracking in urban environment using multiple UAVs. During Phase I, we integrated a cooperative path planning algorithm with a machine learning algorithm into an intelligent target tracking controller. We successfully demonstrated the feasibility of improving target tracking performance through an online learning mechanism. We set up various baseline systems and illustrated that our proposed solution outperforms the baseline systems. In the Phase II effort, we will further mature our intelligent solution to target tracking and extend it to multi-target tracking scenario. We will enhance our simulation environment to better reflect realistic scenarios and demonstrate improved performance of our solution using Monte Carlo simulations. BENEFIT: In support of effective operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in increasingly complex and uncertain missions, the proposed technology will enable UAVs to learn and adapt to the uncertain environment and changes in adversary behavior. The solution will significantly increase the UAV-to-human ratio for successful operation reducing the overall deployment cost. The proposed learning framework will provide a team of UAVs with a set of tools to react effectively to changing environment, mission objectives and sensor characteristics. The new capabilities will allow the UAVs to complete the missions while flying safely, thus reducing costs due to possible accidents and mission failure. Within the commercial domain, the key technology areas and related applications that can potentially benefit from the proposed technology include surveillance around a critical or secure infrastructure, tracking of unknown targets and classifying their behaviors for border security, search of targets for rescue or surveillance, resupplying UAVs for aircraft carriers, Micro Air Vehicles and flying swarms for reconnaissance and remote monitoring, and civilian search and rescue. All of these applications require intelligent cooperation and decision making between UAVs, which will be enabled through our proposed hierarchical learning framework. UC has identified numerous product opportunities within the US Military modernization effort centering on implementing C4ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) technologies. ISR spending in the next decade is estimated at $15 billion, and depends largely on the stable and efficient control of unmanned vehicles. The UC team is particularly optimistic about the value of integrating UCs technology into the emerging smaller tactical UAVs under development and early deployment such as the RQ-7 and RQ-11 programs. Other potential application programs include the Predator UAV programs, as well as multiple FAA compliance efforts currently underway.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.86K | Year: 2014
Optical perception is essential for USVs to accomplish its diverse range of missions while working autonomously on the surface of water. USVs should have the abilities of automatically seeing and avoiding obstacles as well as recognizing navigation lights and day shapes in other vessels. The current technologies lack the ability to satisfactorily capture images and process the digital data and fail to meet performance requirements in terms of stabilization, coverage, range and obstacle detection. In this Phase II UtopiaCompression Corp. (UC) and our collaborators will build a prototype of an innovative Intelligent Visual Sensing (IVS) system to support autonomous navigation and situational awareness of Unmanned Surface Vessels. Using a novel true omni-directional camera, the IVS system will provide a real-time video stream of panoramic images covering the full 360o cylindrical field-of-view (FOV) around the vessel with high image resolution and high image fidelity, free from parallax, distortion and artifacts. The IVS system will have intelligent video analytic capabilities of automatic detection, tracking and classification of surface contacts that enhance vessel situational awareness and support autonomous navigation It will thus free the operator from having to constantly watch and control pan-tilt-zoom cameras, which are extremely ineffective and cause fatigue.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.94K | Year: 2015
Network modernization is one of the Armys top priorities. Tactical edge MANETs possess a set of unique challenges. Social metrics such as centrality and between-ness have proven to be useful in routing decisions in traditional MANETs. However, these routing protocols are based on link state information, which may become stale as the degree of mobility is increased, as in the tactical edge. Tactical edge networks possess some important characteristics that may be beneficial; for example, roles, organizational relationships, and mission plans. This a priori information can be translated into a set of mathematical objects that may be utilized by novel protocols. Such protocols would equip Army networks with heretofore untapped potential, ensuring information superiority for deployed forces. UtopiaCompression (UC) proposes a routing algorithm that exploits a priori mission information and operates independent of link state information. The a priori information is converted into a set of novel social metrics. Reducing the data to social metrics allows the routing problem to be formulated mathematically. UC, will design a hybrid social metric, based roughly on the Social-Tie concept, and associated protocols. The metric leads to a new definition of centrality tailored specifically to the tactical edge MANET.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015
Currently, the lack of a proven Sense and Avoid (SAA) technology is the largest technological obstacle in the way of wide scale Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) deployment in the National Airspace Systems (NAS). Group 2-3 UAS, due to their small size, slow cruise speeds and climb rates; exacerbate the probability of their involvement in a Mid Air Collision (MAC). Therefore, there exists a need for a SAA solution that will enable small UAS to avoid MAC while satisfying their Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) constraints. In past work, UtopiaCompression Corporation (UC) has demonstrated the components of a passive sensor based SAA solution using both simulated and flight test data. The objective of this Phase II effort is to enhance the capabilities of the algorithms and demonstrate the integrated solution and its hardware implementation on a UAS for SAA applications and to establish the feasibility of adapting the same for General Aviation (GA) aircraft.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.98K | Year: 2015
Currently, the lack of a proven Sense and Avoid (SAA) technology is the largest technological obstacle in the way of wide scale Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) deployment in the National Airspace Systems (NAS). Group 2-3 UAS, due to their small size, slow cruise speeds and climb rates; exacerbate the probability of their involvement in a Mid Air Collision (MAC). Therefore, there exists a need for a SAA solution that will enable small UAS to avoid MAC while satisfying their Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) constraints. In past work, UtopiaCompression Corporation (UC) has demonstrated the components of a passive sensor based SAA solution using both simulated and flight test data. The objective of this effort is to prove the concept of an optical SAA system and the feasibility of meeting the SWaP limitations of small UAS.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.97K | Year: 2015
Automated Target Recognition (ATR) technologies offer potential for automated detection and recognition of targets of interest in imagery data with enhanced accuracy. Most existing ATR algorithms are trained on fixed datasets and cannot change during deployment. As a consequence, these ATR systems are likely to have degraded performance when deployed at unseen environments that are not covered by the training data. Whenever new data or new classes of targets need to be added, the baseline approach is to retrain the ATR system from scratch. Such offline retraining usually demands significant amount of computations which causes operational downtime, and is not suitable for online during-mission analysis. Current systems also lack an efficient framework to interact with operator for online learning and adapting to new environments.In this project, UtopiaCompression Corp. (UC) proposes to build a novel MUlti-spectral Visual Incremental Knowledge Assimilation System (MUVIKAS) as a software program that facilitates in-situ target detection and classification in multi-spectral imagery with human in the loop. The system self-adapts to varying scene backgrounds and to inputs from human operator, based on a novel incremental ATR algorithm that perpetually assimilates new and relevant information into the existing knowledge database in an incremental fashion.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2014
ABSTRACT: Space based Infrared (IR) system generates massive amount of IR surveillance data, which strains the limited communication bandwidth, storage and computational resources onboard space or airborne platforms. This poses a great challenge, especially as the spectral and spatial resolutions of sensors keep increasing and more of the sensors are deployed. In this project, UtopiaCompression (UC), in collaboration with Lockheed Martin Mission System and Training, proposes to develop a novel High Efficiency Image Compression (HEIC) technology, capable of intelligently reducing the space IR data size to meet the bandwidth constraints while preserving critical information required for follow-up image exploitation within an operationally significant timeline. With a unique formulation of the lossless compression problem, HEIC utilizes advanced machine learning techniques to form accurate prediction for maximum de-correlation performance and seamlessly integrates lossless approach and multiple near-lossless approaches in a single and scalable framework. The anticipated project deliverable - HEIC compression system will offer superior compression performance and support coding modes including lossless, perception-lossless, and region-of-interest lossless, etc. Phase I effort will focus on algorithmic development, performance benchmarking, systems engineering and analysis to identity the best designs and implement the corresponding compression software prototype suitable for the Space based IR system. BENEFIT: The proposed High Efficiency Image Compression (HEIC) technology will materially benefit Air Force objectives by enabling the compression and transmission of massive space IR surveillance data in real-time over existing communications links to tactical and theater users and imagery analysts without reduction in image accuracy/quality. By enabling the efficient use of IR data captured from the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), UC"s technology will support critical mission areas including missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battle-space awareness. DEFENSE APPLICATIONS: The Air Force Space Command"s Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) serves as the primary acquisition program for our HEIC technology. Following the Phase I effort, and while proceeding with Phases II and III development, UC will work closely with both the Air Force and prime contractor partners to gather all the technical requirements and develop business use cases for applying the HEIC technology to the Space Based Infrared System. In addition, UC has identified numerous product opportunities within the US Military"s modernization effort centering on implementing C4ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) technologies. The military/government segment of the surveillance equipment market is projected to reach $16.1 billion by 2015, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%. Multiple DoD programs would benefit from UC"s technologies with the addition of space surveillance IR data to existent data streams and optimizations of overall data transmission of all data types with future extensions of UC"s product offering. The UC team is particularly optimistic about the value of integrating UC"s technology into the Airborne Cross Cuing Exploitation Systems Hyperspectral (ACES HY) program. Other programs of interest include the forthcoming AFRL STROEB II RDUCE program, NASA's Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), NASA's Hyperion, and extensions of the Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance (ARCHER) programs. COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS AND APPLICATIONS: By enabling accurate and efficient compression of space IR data, UC presents a highly attractive value proposition to developers of sensor applications in a variety of commercial markets including Sensing and Surveillance Markets, among others. The UC team is confident that there are numerous commercial entry points for the technology within these Market sectors. Because of the cross-over between military and commercial verticals in these market sectors, including many shared system requirements and manufacturing partners, UC has focused on these markets for initial commercial entry. (1) SENSING: Uses of multi-band infrared in the Sensing vertical are diverse and increasing as technological advances such as UC"s proposed offering create better user experiences and enable easier storage, retrieval and manipulation of the resulting rich data. There are several overlapping sectors within this market that present attractive commercial opportunities for UC"s enabling product offering, including Remote Sensing, Environmental Sensing and Terrestrial Sensing. These are all highly attractive markets with significant growth projected if technology offerings like UC"s are made available. At a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3%, the Remote Sensing market will grow to more than $9.9 billion by the end of 2012, with a CAGR of 6.3%. The global market for Environmental Sensing technologies is projected to reach $13 billion in 2014, with a CAGR of 5.2%. Applications within this market include climate change, sea level movements, population drifting and others. Terrestrial Sensing technologies are projected to reach $3.4 billion in 2014. Specific applications in this market include mineralogy surveys, agricultural health and pattern analysis and land management surveys, among others. (2) SURVEILLANCE: The worldwide Surveillance Market is projected to reach $139.2 billion in 2015 with a CAGR of 11.7%. The largest end-user segment, industrial/commercial, which includes equipment used in law enforcement surveillance, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13% to reach $94 billion by 2015. In this sector, applications using multi-spectra and hyper-spectra imaging are largely only now beginning to emerge due to cost and data handling considerations. UC"s HEIC technology will be an enabling one in this market and stands to gather a large share of the customer base.