Skip to Main Content
The first 100 years of powered flight witnessed amazing strides in developing safe and economically viable aircraft by focusing on component reliability and system redundancy. More recent times have seen significant improvements in aircraft performance due in large part to more efficient engines, new lighter weight composite materials, and advanced electronics. An opportunity is now on the horizon to achieve even greater operational value, and to enable new capabilities, through the introduction of prognostic health management (PHM) technology into these systems. The field of prognostics has generally focused on methods to determine functional degradation of components with a goal of estimating remaining useful life of systems such that maintenance actions can be performed in a cost effective manner. PHM methods have benefited greatly from recent advances in sensing, computational intelligence algorithms, and microprocessors. Many systems are now able to continuously determine their own condition and capabilities, thus creating the opportunity for real-time reconfiguration and mission adaptation. This ability to characterize component and system performance limits in real-time stands to spawn a new era of control systems research that will move well beyond traditional adaptive control using parameter identification. These traits of self-awareness and adaptability are seen as essential to retaining mission reliability as systems become more complex, highly coupled, and autonomous. This presentation provides an overview of aerospace systems PHM applications, discusses several technical and economic challenges associated with electronics PHM, and describes how PHM technology is seen as an enabler for reliable autonomous systems operations.
Date of Conference: 1-4 Sept. 2008