Certification Considerations for Adaptive Systems

Advanced capabilities planned for the next generation of unmanned aircraft will be based on complex new algorithms and non-traditional software elements. These aircraft will incorporate adaptive and intelligent control algorithms that will provide enhanced safety, autonomy, and high-level decisionmaking functions normally performed by human pilots, as well as robustness in the presence of failures and adverse flight conditions.

This paper discusses the characteristics of adaptive algorithms and the challenges they present to certification for operation in the National Airspace System (NAS). We provide mitigation strategies that may make it possible to overcome these challenges.

S. Bhattacharyya, D. Cofer, D. Musliner, J. Mueller, E. Engstrom, "Certification Considerations for Adaptive Systems" in Proc. Int'l Conf. on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), June 2015. Longer NASA technical report CR–2015-218702 - [PDF]