TMC has been awarded a competitive NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I program contract for the research and development of innovative technologies, aimed at advancing Verification and Validation (V&V) and dynamic analysis of unmanned aerial systems flight software. TMC plans to create a Portable Virtual Aircraft Test System (PVATS) that focuses on the unmanned vehicle avionics and payload software. By using a suite of state-of- the-art simulation models that assist with early-lifecycle testing, Monte Carlo simulation statistical analysis, and automated scenario test runs, the PVATS will drastically reduce the time and cost efforts typical of the unmanned aerial vehicles certification.
Employees Scott Zemerick, Steve Yokum, and Dustin Geletko created the concept, with Scott Zemerick taking the lead on writing and submitting the proposal. Within the past year, TMC has created a new Commercial Systems Division led by Scott Zemerick for the sole purpose of performing advanced research and development and transitioning existing technologies developed for government customers into commercial solutions. This technology will make flying unmanned vehicles in the National Airspace safer and cheaper. It will also assist with testing by reducing costs and speeding up the certification process.
As shown in the graphic below, the main technical objective of PVATS is to develop a test bed that is capable of executing an unmanned aircraft’s unmodified (avionics) flight software binary in a software- only simulator for V&V purposes. The concept is that the entire flight system can be condensed to run on a laptop (or similar computer) by utilizing virtual hardware and instruction set simulators.