VISIMO to Advance UAV Technology Through Air Force STTR Award

by | Jan 28, 2021

PITTSBURGH VISIMO, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati (UC) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Multi-Agent Systems Technology Research (UAV MASTER) Lab, has won an Air Force “Agility Prime” Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award to conduct research on innovative sense-and-avoid architectures for autonomous Orbs and UAVs.   

The goal of VISIMO’s research is to reduce risk in disaster response, humanitarian aid, and logistics missions for Orbs/UAVs through increased autonomy. Current sense-and-avoid architectures are unable to adequately account for the dynamic and ever-changing nature of real-world contested environments. Innovative technologies are needed to reduce risk and effectively aid and protect both civilian populations and Service Members. 

“Our mission at VISIMO is to be stewards of people, drivers of change, and creators of disruptive products,” said founder and CEO James Julius.

“This technology has the potential to improve “ and save “ countless lives, and it is an honor to be recognized by the Air Force as the right partner for this important work.”

For the six-month Phase I award, VISIMO will begin the prototyping process, designing a solution with both commercial and military end-users in mind. In subsequent phases, the team will build and scale an artificial neural network model, testing the technology at UAV MASTER Lab’s state-of-the-art simulation and flight-testing facilities. VISIMO is excited to have this opportunity to learn from the expertise of Dr. Kelly Cohen, Chair of UC’s Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department and Director of the UAV MASTER Lab. Dr. Cohen’s career achievements in fuzzy AI logic, UAVs, and machine learning will be an integral part of VISIMO’s Agility Prime research.

VISIMO’s sense-and-avoid architecture will support the use of UAV technology in a variety of use cases, including air taxi, air ambulance, firefighting, and natural disaster response. The technology will also support cost-effective transportation of goods, mitigate growing traffic congestion, support military and commercial technology readiness, and support public/private partnerships essential for the development of safety standards as Orb/UAV technology advances.

VISIMO is a HUBZone small business located near Pittsburgh, PA. Founded in 2016, VISIMO is an active member of several national consortiums including the Autonomy Research Collaboration Network (ARCNet), and System of Systems (SOSSEC) Consortium. VISIMO was recognized as one of five Data Science finalists for the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 2020 Tech 50 Awards and received a 2020 Best Places to Work Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times.

“We are pleased to be recognized as a small-business innovator and are proud to represent Pittsburgh’s vibrant artificial intelligence community on the federal stage,” concluded Mr. Julius. 

This material is based upon work supported by the United States Air Force AFRL/SBRK under Contract No. FA864921P0231. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force AFRL/SBRK.


May Issue 2024