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A Briefing on Metrics and Risks for Autonomous Decision-Making in Aerospace ApplicationsSignificant technology advances will enable future aerospace systems to safely and reliably make decisions autonomously, or without human interaction. The decision-making may result in actions that enable an aircraft or spacecraft in an off-nominal state or with slightly degraded components to achieve mission performance and safety goals while reducing or avoiding damage to the aircraft or spacecraft. Some key technology enablers for autonomous decision-making include: a continuous state awareness through the maturation of the prognostics health management field, novel sensor development, and the considerable gains made in computation power and data processing bandwidth versus system size. Sophisticated algorithms and physics based models coupled with these technological advances allow reliable assessment of a system, subsystem, or components. Decisions that balance mission objectives and constraints with remaining useful life predictions can be made autonomously to maintain safety requirements, optimal performance, and ensure mission objectives. This autonomous approach to decision-making will come with new risks and benefits, some of which will be examined in this paper. To start, an account of previous work to categorize or quantify autonomy in aerospace systems will be presented. In addition, a survey of perceived risks in autonomous decision-making in the context of piloted aircraft and remotely piloted or completely autonomous unmanned autonomous systems (UAS) will be presented based on interviews that were conducted with individuals from industry, academia, and government.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Frost, Susan
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Goebel, Kai Frank
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Galvan, Jose Ramon
(Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc. (SGT, Inc.) Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
June 19, 2012
Subject Category
Aeronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Infotech@Aerospace
Location: Garden Grove, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: June 19, 2012
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 561581.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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