Real-time Turbulence Recognition and Reporting System for Unmanned Systems
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-017
Topic Title: Real-time Turbulence Recognition and Reporting System for Unmanned Systems
Proposal No.: N181-017-0826
Firm: Systems Technology, Inc.
13766 Hawthorne Blvd.
Hawthorne, California 90250
Contact: Brian Danowsky
Phone: (310) 679-2281
Web Site:
Abstract: Atmospheric turbulence is ubiquitous for all manned and unmanned flight vehicles, regardless of vehicle size and speed. Turbulence is generally compensated for by the pilot and flight control system and factors into aircraft design, flight envelope definition, and mission profile. If high-intensity turbulence is encountered, structural damage and/or loss of control can result, leading to mission abort, and in extreme cases, catastrophic failure. For manned aircraft, the turbulence level is pilot-determined based on ?ofeel.?? For Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), detection and recognition of turbulence must be performed by other means. The Navy seeks a real-time, robust, low-computational-overhead, on-vehicle system for UAS to recognize and quantify turbulence severity levels. As a solution, we propose the Systems Technology, Inc. Turbulence REcognition AlgorithM (STREAM). STREAM will leverage existing sensors to quantify time-varying turbulence intensity levels in real-time using an efficient onboard frequency-domain-based algorithm that can be seamlessly applied as a software update to existing and future UAS of varying weight and speed class. These data can be sent to a remote operator for better-informed decision making or can be used for autonomous control algorithms on board. STREAM will be developed and demonstrated in Phase I via simulation with relevant UAS models.
Benefits: STREAM is a low-computational-overhead real-time algorithm that quantifies turbulence levels using on-aircraft sensor data. The time-dependent turbulence intensity parameters that result from STREAM can be sent and displayed to remote operators in real-time to facilitate better-informed decision making, or the data can be used on-board for autonomous control algorithms that compensate for varying turbulence. STREAM will ultimately decrease loss of aircraft due to high turbulence levels and will ultimately increase safety. STREAM is intended to be applied as a software update to existing flight management and control software onboard fixed-wing UAS. The initial target market is the military UAS market, specifically the Navy UAS market. When including all the US military branches use of UAS, as well as the militaries of US allies, the military market is quite large. A secondary, and ultimately larger market, is the commercial UAS market. This is a rapidly growing industry with the proliferation of emerging UAS applications including filming, infrastructure inspection, environmental and agricultural monitoring, package delivery, and air taxis. Although targeted to UAS, STREAM could also be applied to manned aircraft, providing a measure of turbulence intensity directly to the pilot in real-time.