Friday, March 25, 2016

2016-03-25: 2016 Spring Intern Leonardo Esau Herrea (in English and en Español)

Originally hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Leonardo Esau Herrera is a graduate student at Cicese Research Center in Mexico where is pursuing his PhD in instrumentation and control. Leonardo's passion for NASA was ignited as a child when he became fascinated with the technological advances motivated by space travel. His quest for opportunities at NASA began while was in high school and are being realized now - during his spring 2016 internship with NASA Langley's Autonomy Incubator (AI) team. While interning in the AI, Mr. Hererra is designing flight controllers to accomplish aggressive maneuvers in single UAVs as well as controllers for tightly coupled formations of UAVs. This opportunity has strengthened his resolve to seek a career in the aerospace industry and reinforced his desire to serve as an aerospace ambassador for outreach to Spanish speaking communities.

Leonardo Esau Herrera

And in Spanish/Español...

Originario de San Antonio, Texas, Leonardo Esau Herrera es un estudiante de posgrado en el centro de investigación CICESE en México, donde se encuentra realizando sus estudios doctorales en el area de instrumentación y control. La pasión de Leonardo por la NASA inició cuando llego a ser faciando  por los avances tecnológicos y  los viajes espaciales que la NASA lograba, esto aún siendo niño. Su búsqueda de oportunidades en la NASA lo ha llevado a realizar una estancia durante el periódo de primavera del 2016 en el equipo Autonomy Incubator (AI) del centro de investigación Langley de la  NASA. Durante su estancia, Leonardo estará diseñando controladores de vuelo para lograr maniobras agresivas en aeronaves individuales, así como controladores para lograr formación de vuelo altamente acoplada entre multiples aeronaves. Esta oportunidad lo ha llevado a reforzar su decisión por seguir trabajando en área aeroespacial así como a reforzar su deseo de servir como embajador aeroespacial para motivar comunidades de lengua española.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2016-03-16: Building 1222 Flight Area Expansion

The Autonomy Incubator Flight Area at NASA Langley is preparing for future challenges and research with tracking system upgrades to expand the flight ops area.
One of the many dedicated LaRC employees
that keep the Autonomy Incubator up and running!

Stay in the loop by watching our new time-lapse video showing the installation...

and stay at the forefront of autonomous drone research by tagging along with us here and on twitter. with @AutonomyIncub8r and #LaRCai.

The final floor layout courtesy of our 2016 spring interns in the Autonomy Incubator.

Our Expanded Flight Area with an AI for Autonomy Incubator

Or is it Institute? Coming soon... the Autonomy & Robotics Institute!

Monday, March 14, 2016

2016-03-14: 2016 Spring Intern A. Branham Dyer

My name is A. Branham Dyer and I am a Mass Communication and Journalism Major from CFCC in Wilmington with a very heavy emphasis on videography and photography. I am passionate about aerospace and astronomy and am the spring 2016 social media intern for the NASA LaRC Autonomy Incubator (AI) . I am not the typical NASA intern in that I am not someone with a background in a Science, Technology, Engineering or a Math  (STEM) field. Through my work as a filmmaker and journalist, I hope to turn STEM into STEAM with the inclusion of the Art of communicating scientific, educational, and historical documentation of my experiences into the AI message. Things have been happening at fast pace here at the AI this semester and we have been developing some new strategies to incorporate into our social media department. In an effort to tell our story more completely, we have been devoting some time establishing a social media department that can incorporate true high definition video and photography to share our experiences and milestones. Part of that process involved obtaining new hardware and software for handling, editing, and cataloging our video and photo portfolio into a searchable format for easy retrieval. We will be sharing these stories in a series of articles that will look back at what's happened since my arrival in January. I hope you will join us as we take steps towards building trusted autonomy for robotic systems that will one day be used in planetary exploration, cooperative human-machine work environments, and for the overall benefit of humankind. 

Social Media Intern A. Branham Dyer

Friday, March 11, 2016

2016-03-11: 2016 Spring Intern Spencer Watza

Spencer Watza, a recent graduate in aerospace engineering from Western Michigan University, has joined the NASA Langley Autonomy Incubator team for the spring 2016 semester. Spencer is working to further develop the Visual Odometry (VO) algorithms used in our fleet of unmanned systems. While Mr. Watza's work currently focuses on UAVs, this approach to localization is utilized in many types of robots, be they legged, wheeled or aerial. When external information (such as GPS) is degraded or denied, fully autonomous operation requires the robots to rely on alternative localization systems like visual odometry and inertial measurement units. This multi-modal approach will enable autonomous indoor and outdoor navigation and collaboration and play a critical role in disaster management, industrial inspection, environmental conservation, and planetary surface exploration.

Spencer Watza

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2016-03-09: NASA CFO David Radzanowski visits the AI

NASA CFO David Radzanowski and LaRC OCFO personnel visited the Autonomy Incubator (AI) this afternoon. The AI team talked to them about the fundamental building blocks of machine autonomy and demonstrated a exemplar science mission employing collaborative autonomy.

Loc Tran and Kyle McQuarry explain localization
Ben Kelley "dances with drones" to demonstrate Detect-And-Avoid

Danette Allen describes collaborative autonomy while Kathy Ferrare looks on


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

2016-03-08: International Women's Day

Celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on International Women's Day!

Erica Maszeros, Anna Trujillo, Carol Castle, and Danette Allen
in the Autonomy Incubator

Lisa Rippy, Susan Gordon, Dave Bowles, Vicki Crisp, and Sharon Graves
at the On-Demand Mobility (ODM) Workshop

Thursday, March 3, 2016

2016-03-03: 2016 Spring Intern Michael Janov

Michael Janov, a junior at Northeastern University majoring in computer engineering with minors in mathematics and industrial engineering, has joined the NASA Langley Research Center Autonomy Incubator team for the spring 2016 semester.  Michael is working on wireless data transmission and wireless power source recharging of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to facilitate autonomous energy management and increase payload portability between autonomous platforms.

His primary goal is to enable flexibility in autonomous UAV missions by developing a modular sensor payload system that allows a UAV to magnetically pick up a payload and transfer data using wireless inductive communications. He is excited to have the opportunity to work with these cutting edge technologies and have the ability to meet and interact with NASA engineers while working at the Autonomy Incubator. Mr. Janov hopes to one day design intrepid spacefaring vehicles for NASA.

                                                                      Michael Janov

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016-03-02: Tethered Flight in the AI

Loc and John installed the tether in the Autonomy Incubator in preparation for flying the GLARF, a lower-fidelity model of the GL-10 used for custom avionics R&D.

John and Loc attach the center pulley to a ceiling strut
and Bubbles is ready for the first load test.

Bubbles stepped in for our first load test!


And then we tested with 75 pounds - three times the expected GLARF load.

Bubbles supervises as the tether is tested to 75 pounds