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Ongoing Projects

Note: Unless otherwise noted, project Principal Investigator (PI) is Dr. DeLaurentis.

High Speed Flight Systems & Defense Cluster

Data-Driven Capability Portfolio Management Pilot

SynopsisThe research adapts a previously developed system-of-systems analytic workbench prototype to create a decision-support prototype effective for informing decisions in Integrated Acquisition Portfolio Reviews. We demonstrate mission engineering analysis and portfolio optimization of an anti-surface warfare mission thread using personnel and munitions in the surface, aviation, and space domains. The advanced prototype provides a broader range of insights for stakeholder decision-making, such as resource tradeoffs, cost-sensitivity analysis, and the most robust anti-surface warfare systems to be acquired in specific portfolios.

Additive Manufacturing and Digital Engineering Strategy Development

SynopsisThe research focuses on the data and framework surrounding the opportunity to exploit additive manufacturing as a systems engineering problem. First, we identify the critical decision and analysis variables and created a framework to understand how these variables impact each other. Second, we transfer the above framework into an algorithmic view of these variables to make an optimized decision regarding where and how additive manufacturing can have the most impact. Third, we develop an interactive decision support tool (i.e., the “decision Engine”) in additive manufacturing, supply chain, and digital engineering as part of the overarching goal of mission engineering. As we go through this research, we conduct three use cases to create the decision engine: aircraft fleet maintenance using additive management; spacecraft applications; and design, manufacturing, and maintenance of aircraft components. Finally, we create a roadmap for digital technical data packages to adopt additive manufacturing.

Mission-Aware Integrated Digital Transformation for Operational Advantage

SynopsisThe research includes identifying the current best practices in digital modeling, developing actionable recommendations for cohesive operations-driven digital modeling, and demonstrating use cases. The research takes three use cases for demonstration: air, sea, and ground. In each case, we investigate how digital engineering is used and how decisions are made in operations.

Multidisciplinary Hypersonic Program: Enabling Technologies for High-Speed Operable Systems

SynopsisThe research includes developing and demonstrating a system-of-systems tool conglomerate to optimize complex design problems for hypersonic vehicles, which are subject to severe size, weight, and power sensitivities. In particular, we focus on the aerodynamics tool, trajectory simulation tool, ablation modeling tool, and optimization tool.

Advanced Aerial Mobility & Air Transportation Cluster

Operations limits for passenger-carrying Urban Air Mobility missions
Principal-investigators: Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis, Dr. William Crossley
Sponsor: National Institute of Aerospace, NASA Langley Research Center

Synopsis: The convergence of new technologies, such as electric propulsion, autonomy, and new business models, such as app-based ride sharing, are generating the potential for a new aviation market known as Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to emerge. It is envisioned that UAM may revolutionize mobility within metropolitan areas by enabling a safe, efficient, convenient, affordable, and accessible air transportation system for passengers and cargo. Such an air transportation system could bring aviation into people’s daily lives and provide an augmentation and/or alternative to other ground-based transit modes, such as cars. The UAM market is not likely to appear overnight. Rather, some form of evolutionary approach based on the pace of technology development, infrastructure limitations, societal acceptance, airspace integration, and many other factors may bring us from the current state of the art to the envisioned future state where aviation is a normal part of people’s daily lives. To help NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) consider potential near-term applications for passenger-carrying UAM and which issues will be the key “bottlenecks” limiting the scalability of early UAM operations, this task is focused on studying the “operational limits” of near-term UAM applications. The work builds upon previous methodology developments of the Purdue PIs to assess the mobility benefits from CTOL and VTOL operations, at a regional transportation level and with initial “hooks” into urban areas.

UAM Ops Architecture

Secure and Safe Assured Autonomy (S2A2)
Sponsor:NASA University Leadership Initiative

Synopsis: The recent introduction of unmanned systems into the NAS will bring challenges and opportunities for the nation’s aviation system. The integration of such a complex transportation system creates a clear need to develop new technologies and innovative operational concepts for secure and safe assured autonomy. An unmanned systems future will see the integration of a wide variety of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), personal air vehicles, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles, and cargo and special mission aircraft into the NAS. These developments can leverage UAS Traffic Management (UTM) advancements for the unique requirements of UAM airspace management. The main challenges include: (i) sensing and understanding complex operational surroundings, coordinating different types of aerial vehicles, planning and navigation through highly dynamic and uncertain environments; (ii) securing the NAS against a wide range of malicious adversarial threats, specifically cyber-physical attacks; (iii) verifying and validating autonomous system operation; and, finally, (iv) properly integrating new vehicles and traffic management approaches in the midst of autonomy. Our primary goal is to ensure safe, secure and robust integration of autonomous vehicles into a UAM-tailored transportation infrastructure while maintaining compliance with existing commercial and civil air transportation safety standards.

Traffic Information Exchange Network (TIEN)
Sponsor: NASA University Student Research Challenge

Synopsis: Traffic Information Exchange Network is a relay-based broadcasting protocol that can enable data sharing between multiple devices. The protocol works similarly to “gossip protocol” where a device keeps listening to the neighboring broadcasted messages and whenever it receives a message, it adds its own information on top of the old one and broadcasts the new message. This mechanism enables two distant devices to share information with each other through a device in between. This is especially important in an urban environment where information between two relatively closer drones can be blocked due to obstacles, such as skyscrapers. Relay mechanism ensures that the critical information is received if reasonable density of the devices in the area is maintained. Currently the focus is on the development and testing of a secured data relay system for UAVs. As part of this effort, the data-relay capability and performance of TIEN in a dynamic traffic environment, has been characterized using an in-house simulation environment. Additionally, our group successfully implemented the protocol on a prototype hardware and performed proof-of-concept experiments, on Purdue campus, to demonstrate the relay mechanism. This project intends to enhance TIEN capability and demonstrate its cybersecurity mechanism. There are three distinct tasks to validate the potential of TIEN: (i) investigating and enhancing the TIEN’s cyber-security capabilities, (ii) identification of path to integrate TIEN with other airspace management systems, and (iii) improving vehicle localization accuracy in urban environment using TIEN communication properties.

Aircraft Technology Modeling and Assessment - NextGen Supersonic Fleet evaluation
Principal-investigator: Dr. William Crossley
Co-investigator: Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis
Sponsor: FAA ASCENT Center of Excellence

Synopsis: The project is focused on developing a model that measures fleet-wide environmental impact from new aircraft concepts and technologies under various carbon policy scenarios, based on an approach that mimics airline behavior. Fleet-level Environmental Evaluation Tool (FLEET) considers uses a "system dynamics-like" approach to allow demand, fleet size/composition, and fares to evolve over time while considering scenarios with varying technological, policy, & economic factors. The current focus is a collaborative effort between Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University to leverage capabilities and knowledge available from the multiple entities that make up the ASCENT university partners and advisory committee. Purdue's primary directive for this research project is to support the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in modeling and assessing the potential future evolution of the next-generation supersonic aircraft fleet. Purdue's research under this project consists of three integrated focus areas: (a) establishing fleet assumptions and performing demand assessment; (b) performing preliminary SST environmental impact prediction; (c) performing vehicle and fleet assessments of potential future supersonic aircraft. More details are available at the project website.

System Dynamics Approach

Space Systems Cluster

Modeling Architectures and Parametrization for Spacecraft (MAPS)
Internal project

Synopsis: The Modeling Architectures and Parametrization for Spacecraft (MAPS) Environment was constructed in-house by students. The environment, coded in MATLAB, enables non-traditional analysis of spacecraft and space architectures. Multiple scenarios and architecture designs can be evaluated, and users can perform trade studies based on several metrics, including cost and complexity. Additional tools enable extensibility, repeatability, and decision support. The object-oriented nature of the environment allows the SoS group to continue developing the environment. Current work is underway to import information directly from SysML models into the environment.

System of Systems /Systems Engineering Methodology Cluster

Production Engineering Education and Research (PEER)
Principal-investigators: Dr. Audeen Fentiman (Engineer Education)
Co-investigators: Dr. Kerrie Douglas (Engineering Education), Dr. Jorge Camba (Purdue polytechnic institute), Dr. John Sutherland (Environmental and Ecological Engineering),Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis
Sponsor: NSF EHR Core Research, Boeing

Synopsis: Production Engineering Education and Research (PEER) aims to accelerate training in critical skill areas for the Nation's engineering and advanced manufacturing workforce. The project at Purdue focuses on the development of online modular courses on MBSE for working professionals, 4-year, and 2-year university students. It is a joint project with faculties of Engineering Education, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, College of Education, Purdue Online.