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NASA awards Geisel Software and Arizona State University swarm robotics contract

Geisel Software, a Massachusetts-based custom software development firm, and Arizona State University are pleased to announce they have been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer 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 (for example, planetary rovers and flyers) in lunar and planetary exploration missions.

Brian Geisel, CEO at Geisel Software, says: “Geisel Software is excited to be working with ASU on this ground-breaking swarming research for NASA.

“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.”

Sze Zheng Yong, PhD and assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering in ASU’s Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering, says: “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.”

Yong will serve as principal investigator on the project.

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 multiagent 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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