M-HATT addresses a key barrier to widespread use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in the national airspace system (NAS): the lack of tools that enable operators to team with automation to control multiple UAS with minimal human oversight. This, in turn, requires addressing several more basic issues: seamless sharing/trading of control, and trust and transparency, between humans and increasingly autonomous systems.
M-HATT development includes four builds:
- A ground control station (GCS) that controls multiple UAS with basic interfaces and is capable of ingesting unmanned traffic management (UTM) services’ information in two basic tests (package delivery and search & rescue);
- Adding multi-model human-automation teaming interfaces and algorithms, and testing with NASA’s Live Virtual Constructive-Distributed Environment (LVC-DE) and STANAG 4586;
- Adding a framework for incorporating machine learning algorithms (MLA) into M-HATT and demonstrating its utility with representative MLAs, and testing with UTM; and
- Integration and testing with Shadow Mode Assessment with Realistic Technology in the national airspace systems (SMART-NAS) beta test.
Potential Government Applications
M-HATT can potentially support research on human-automation teaming and UAS in several NASA projects:
- M-HATT can provide UAS-in-the-NAS (national airspace systems) researchers the capability to research and evaluate new concepts and to develop operational performance standards for performance, communications, human systems integration (HSI) design guidelines for ground control stations;
- M-HATT can provide SMART-NAS (next generation aircraft traffic management researchers with a testbed to perform R&D activities with concepts and technologies that involve increasingly autonomous (IA) systems;
- M-HATT can be a valuable tool for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) researchers to evaluate new concepts of operations (ConOps) that involve humans interacting with IA systems and new GCS designs envisioned for UTM.
Potential Commercial Applications
- Companies that build small UAS (e.g., Aerovironment) and large UAS (e.g., General Atomics, Boeing), and companies that manufacture UAS avionics (e.g., Honeywell, General Dynamics, L3). As these organizations develop new technologies and ConOps, they will need a testbed such as M-HATT to rapidly perform evaluations and obtain results;
- Organizations that have similar research interests in the national airspace system, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), RTI, and academic institutions. These organizations do not necessarily have requirements to produce technologies, but they have interests in areas such as the regulatory and policy implications of UAS operation in the NAS;
- Companies (e.g., Amazon and Google) that have developed UAS for package delivery or emergency response applications, and cargo companies (e.g., FedEx and UPS) that may use UAS to transport cargo. These companies will have a strong need to build and test specific UAS, GCS, and ConOps that will expand their business markets;
- Organizations that have deployed UAS in military missions. These organizations are leading R&D efforts in using autonomy as a means to reduce the ratio between the number of operators and the number of UAS. Their research labs (e.g., Army and Air Force Research Labs) are actively researching human automation teaming issues in the context of large numbers of UAS, and they will need a testbed such as M-HATT to conduct simulations for training or evaluations.