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

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2014. Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18815.
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A

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, the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, 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 crewed 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.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2014. Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18815.
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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 crewed 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.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2014. Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18815.
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Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2014. Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18815.
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Page 68
Next: Appendix B: Committee and Staff Biographical Information »
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The development and application of increasingly autonomous (IA) systems for civil aviation is proceeding at an accelerating pace, driven by the expectation that such systems will return significant benefits in terms of safety, reliability, efficiency, affordability, and/or previously unattainable mission capabilities. IA systems range from current automatic systems such as autopilots and remotely piloted unmanned aircraft to more highly sophisticated systems that are needed to enable a fully autonomous aircraft that does not require a pilot or human air traffic controllers. These systems, characterized by their ability to perform more complex mission-related tasks with substantially less human intervention for more extended periods of time, sometimes at remote distances, are being envisioned for aircraft and for air traffic management and other ground-based elements of the national airspace system. Civil aviation is on the threshold of potentially revolutionary improvements in aviation capabilities and operations associated with IA systems. These systems, however, face substantial barriers to integration into the national airspace system without degrading its safety or efficiency.

Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation identifies key barriers and suggests major elements of a national research agenda to address those barriers and help realize the benefits that IA systems can make to crewed aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems, and ground-based elements of the national airspace system. This report develops a set of integrated and comprehensive technical goals and objectives of importance to the civil aeronautics community and the nation. Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation will be of interest to U.S. research organizations, industry, and academia who have a role in meeting these goals.

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