Geisel Software And ASU Awarded NASA STTR Contract For Communicationless Coordination Of Robotic Swarms


Behavior and intent estimation and intent-expressive motion planning technologies will enable cooperative operation of multiagent systems.

Geisel Software, a Massachusetts-based custom software development firm, and Arizona State University (ASU) are pleased to announce they have been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Phase I will focus on identifying and developing intent estimation and intent-expressive motion planning technologies that enable cooperative operation of low-cardinality swarms of space vehicles (e.g., planetary rovers and flyers) in lunar and planetary exploration missions.

“Geisel Software is excited to be working with ASU on this ground-breaking swarming research for NASA,” commented Brian Geisel, Chief Executive Officer at Geisel Software.  “This is Geisel Software’s second NASA award in the area of swarming robotics and this new research will help take us a step closer to providing swarming solutions that increase the efficiency of space exploration while decreasing the risk to human explorers.”

“My students and I are also very excited to work with Geisel Software to develop the communicationless coordination technologies for NASA and hopefully, to see this technology being deployed in future lunar or planetary missions,” said Sze Zheng Yong, Ph.D. and assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, who will serve as principal investigator.

Yong and his team will work in tandem with Geisel Software engineers to develop technologies that will enable communicationless coordination by observing and estimating the actions and intentions of agents in a multi-agent system. The research is pivotal in facilitating the deployment of small, low-cost spacecraft that could transport key sensors and instruments to high-risk environments.  Behavior and intent estimation capabilities will also remove limitations imposed by high communication latencies, minimizing a swarm’s dependence on ground control and allowing for primarily autonomous operation.

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