MTSI, NASA to Work on Autonomous Aircraft Framework Under Space Act Agreement; Kevin Robinson Quoted

Kevin Robinson

Modern Technology Solutions Inc. and NASA have agreed to team up to build a framework that could be used to secure certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for autonomous aircraft systems.

MTSI said Monday it will work with the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center on NASA’s Traveler Project under the two-year Space Act Agreement.

“MTSI has partnered with NASA on autonomous system development and certification for over 20 years and this agreement represents a great opportunity to cooperatively develop and transition key technologies that will have a positive impact on next generation aviation,” said MTSI CEO Kevin Robinson.

The Traveler Project, also called Resilient Autonomy, aims to create an architecture for certifying autonomous systems through the use of the multimode run-time assurance technique that works to place a “wrapper” around the unmanned system’s nondeterministic software to bind the untrusted platform’s behavior.

“Unlike traditional manned platforms, operators of autonomous systems are uncertain how to obtain certification for platforms that utilize non-deterministic algorithms or artificial intelligence,” said Russell Wolfe, MTSI vice president of engineering, speaking with ExecutiveBiz Tuesday.

“Partnering with NASA to develop a novel methodology and architecture for supporting certification of these types of platforms, enables MTSI to play a substantive role in helping to overcome one of the largest challenges inhibiting this bourgeoning new market from becoming a reality,” Wolfe added.

The company will also help develop algorithms and software code for the Expandable Variable Autonomy Architecture as well as safety modules and monitors through its Innovation Program as part of the NASA agreement.

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