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Committee on Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation


Statement of Task

The National Research Council will appoint an ad-hoc committee to develop a national research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation, comprised of a prioritized set of integrated and comprehensive technical goals and objectives of importance to the civil aeronautics community and the nation. The elements of the recommended research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation will be evolved from the existing state of the art, scientific and technological requirements to advance the state of the art, potential user needs, and technical research plans, programs, and activities. In addition, the committee will consider the resources and organizational partnerships required to complete various elements of the agenda.

In particular the committee will:

1. Consider the current context of research in autonomy relevant to civil aviation based on factors such as the following:
     a) The current state of the art in autonomy research and applications (for example, national defense, space, automotive, and marine applications) by U.S. industry, NASA, DOD, FAA, other federal agencies, academia, and non-U.S. research agencies and organizations and the contributions that these organizations are making to pursue the development and application of advanced autonomy in relevant civil aviation systems, vehicles (both manned and unmanned), processes, and mission capabilities.
     b) Current national guidance on research goals and objectives in autonomy in civil aviation.

2. Describe the following:
     a) The scope of the committee's investigation in terms of the forms and applications of autonomy that the committee considered.
     b) Contributions that advances in autonomy could make to civil aeronautics over the next 10 to 20 years through research that provides 
        i. a steady pace of incremental advances and
        ii. credible, game-changing advances in current capabilities.
     c) Technical and policy barriers to implementing advances in autonomy in operational civil aeronautics systems and how those barriers might be overcome.
     d) Key challenges and gaps that a national research agenda in autonomy for civil aviation should address.

3. Outline a potential national research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation, as follows:
     a) The research agenda should consist of a prioritized set of research projects that, if successful,
        i. would enable concepts of operation for the national airspace system where vehicles and systems with various autonomous capabilities are able to operate in harmony with each other and human operators/supervisors,
        ii. could lead to the development, integration, testing, and demonstration of advanced autonomy capabilities for vehicles and systems (both manned and unmanned), processes, and mission capabilities
        iii. predict the system-level effects of incorporating the above in the national airspace system, and 
        iv. define approaches for verification, validation, and certification of new forms and applications of autonomy.
     b) The agenda should be developed with due consideration of the resources and organizational partnerships required to complete the projects included in the agenda.
     c) For each project, the agenda should, as appropriate, describe the potential contributions and role of U.S. research organizations, including NASA, other federal agencies, industry, and academia.
 

Please view our Current Projects System for further information.


View the Report: Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight (2014)

Committee Meetings

July 10-12, 2013
Washington, DC

View Presentations
 

August 27-29, 2013
Irvine, CA

View Presentations

Committee Membership 

View Bios

CO-CHAIR
JOHN-PAUL B. CLARKE
Georgia Institute of Technology

CO-CHAIR
JOHN K. LAUBER
Private Consultant

BRENT APPLEBY
Draper Laboratory 

JOHN D. LEE
University of Wisconsin-Madison

ELLA M. ATKINS
University of Michigan
 
KENNETH M. ROSEN, NAE
General Aero-Science Consultants, LLC
ANTHONY J. BRODERICK
Independent Consultant
 
LAEL RUDD
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
GARY L. COWGER
GLC Ventures, LLC
 
PATRICIA VERVERS
Honeywell Aerospace 
CHRISTOPHER E. FLOOD
Delta Air Lines
 

LARRELL B. WALTERS
University of Dayton Research Institute

MICHAEL S. FRANCIS
United Technologies Research Center
 

DAVID WOODS
The Ohio State University

ERIC FREW
University of Colorado Boulder
 
EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS
University of California, Los Angeles
ANDREW LACHER
The MITRE Corporation
 
 

 

Presentations 

We have posted only presentations which have been made available to us by the presenter.

August 27-29, 2013

John Langford
Walter Monk
Steven Chien
Richard Bishop
Daniel Johnson
Wendell Wallach
David Vos
Cliff Nas
Martial Hebert
Richard Murray

July 10-12, 2013

Kris Kearns and Jim Overholt