NASA selects Vortex Suite for SMART National Airspace System

155080main_facet_hrVortex OpenSplice, Cloud and Fog data sharing platforms provide scalability, dynamic discovery, Qualities of Service and tooling capabilities required by system

Vortex OpenSplice, Vortex Cloud and Vortex Fog have been selected by NASA for use in the SMART-NAS (Shadow Mode Assessment Using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System) Project.

SMART-NAS is an air traffic management simulation project designed to accelerate the transformation of the National Airspace System, which is one of the most complex systems for controlling commercial, military and general aviation aircraft in the world.  In this effort, SMART-NAS aims to explore and enable plug-and-play alternative concepts, technologies and architectures for deployment in the NAS.

Over the past seven years, NASA has trusted PrismTech’s superior software, service and expertise to meet a variety of program goals.

Vortex platforms were selected by NASA for SMART-NAS after an in-depth evaluation of the various data sharing platform options that are based on the Object Management Group®’s (OMG®) Data-Distribution Service™ (DDS™) standard.  DDS is a proven technology that can meet the stringent performance, availability, safety and robustness criteria imposed by mission-critical, highly distributed and real time systems, such as those found in air traffic control and air traffic management systems. Key to Vortex, however, is its functionality to extend DDS beyond embedded and LAN-based networks out to an intelligent real-time data exchange for Tactical Clouds to enable highly scalable system of systems solutions.

To accelerate the transformation of the entire NAS, proposed functions must be integrated, tested and fully validated before being deployed into NAS.  SMART-NAS aims to examine, in real-time, the robustness, stability and reliability of new approaches to the entire system or any of its parts by taking operational data such as weather conditions, flight plans, airports arrival rates and system constraints – to ensure safe and seamless operations from ground level to outer space.

Vortex optimally addresses the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.  Vortex OpenSplice is being used in numerous air traffic control and management systems throughout the world.

Further information about Vortex platforms is available from PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.

FACE listed Vortex OpenSplice as one of the 3rd-party tools for FACE Applications

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The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium has added Vortex OpenSplice to its list of third-party tools for FACE applications.

PrismTech recently released its DDS Community Edition v6.7 that comes with a Free Open Source TSS aligned with the FACE Technical Standard that uses DDS as the underlying transport layer and is fully compatible and interoperable with the commercially supported Vortex OpenSplice V6.8

PrismTech’s TSS reference implementation provides a mapping-layer between the FACE Transport Services API and the standard OMG-DDS API. The new TSS implementation supports both C++ and Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and enables portable components to share and exchange data using DDS. PrismTech’s TSS is being made available under GNU lesser General Public License (LGPL) v3 and Apache V2.0 Open Source license terms.

 

What’s new with Open Source DDS Community Edition v6.7 Software

DDS Community v6.7 Mailer Poster

PrismTech recently released its latest version of Open Source DDS Community Edition, the 6.7 version which adds significant new functionality and a new open source licensing model to the DDS Community Edition.

The DDS Community Edition v6.7 is being released to the open source community under the widely adopted Apache license, version 2.0 source code license. Unlike many other code licenses the Apache license places very few restrictions on the use or availability of the code.

Here are the new features included on this release:

  • Durability: Full support for TRANSIENT_LOCAL durability is now offered without relying on each standalone ‘single-process’ application to include a full durability-service (DS).  As typically a DS is run as part of a federation, we have introduced the concept of ‘client-side durability’ where standalone ‘single-process’ applications will transparently obtain historical data from dynamically discovered durability-services (as provided by our commercial OpenSplice version)
  • DCPS API’s: Support for the latest ISOCPP and JAVA5 DCPS language bindings
  • FACE: This release includes a reference implementation of the FACE 2.1 Transport Services Segment (TSS)
  • GPB: Support to use Google Protocol Buffers (GPB) as an alternative to the OMG-IDL definition for topic-types. GPB is a popular technology that supports evolvable data-types and we’ve added annotations for key- and filterable-fields to retain the data-centric features of DDS.

The new release also includes numerous other updates to the code base such as: performance and footprint improvements, bug fixes, robustness and maintainability improvements.

With having Apache license version 2.0 open source license available, this will help reduce the IoT adoption barriers and further accelerate the penetration of DDS in this new and exciting market.

Find out more details on DDS Community v6.7 or click here to download the software.

 

Reflections on DDS at Undersea Defense Technology (UDT)

I’m writing this blog tonight whilst traveling home from exhibiting at the Undersea Defense Technology (UDT) conference in Bremen, Germany with my PrismTech colleagues Peter Steele and Gregg Shenton.

It’s always good to catch up with the latest innovations and tech in the naval and subsea industry – and of course the major suppliers were all in attendance.  A lot of interesting things were going on.

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UDT is a particularly appropriate event for PrismTech.  We have many customers in this industry, with DDS (the Data Distribution Service) already being widely applied and often even mandated by the standards bodies and organizations.  Our leading DDS implementation, Vortex OpenSplice has many successful naval deployments and a long history in this market.  Many people will know how its early version was initially designed to address the specific problem of moving data around a complex, real time, combat management system.  The middleware aspect was standardized to form the DDS specification, which of course addresses a lot of those problems – namely delivering time critical data to the applications that need it in an efficient, fault tolerant and scalable manner.

The benefits of DDS, though, are perhaps quite abstract, and for non-software developers probably initially difficult to appreciate.  Because of that, we wanted to provide a visual demonstration at the event that would be interesting for the passer-by yet allow them to relate to what the technology can provide.

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We came up with a mini simulation of a combat system whereby data from the raw environment is captured, processed and delivered to where needed for further analysis.  Our demo used a webcam to capture the raw environment – which in real terms could represent a radar, sonar or video system.  The demo then performed some local analysis, in our case some image processing to track specific colours as they move across the camera.  We had some different colored balls that people were encouraged to wave around (or if brave, juggle) in front of the webcam.  These moving colours were tracked, with their positions published into DDS.  We had another computer which subscribed to that data and presented it to a would-be operator on a mocked-up Blue Force Tracking system, i.e. naval symbols on a sea chart.  We were simulating how position and routes of other vessels and obstacles could be tracked within a networked system in real time.  Of course, DDS is even more valuable when you have to deliver the data to potentially hundreds of machines that might exist within a ship or vessel but there is only so much you can show on a stand!  Still, people appreciated the demo and we had some very interesting discussions.

On reflection, those discussions were generally centred around two key areas.  Firstly, how companies can simplify and optimize their own internal data communication systems.  They usually have some existing solution to deliver data around the network but they are often quite legacy and difficult to extend, enhance or deploy to different scenarios.  DDS is great for that purpose.  Secondly, we spoke about easy integration with other vendors in the naval supply chain.  DDS has strong yet evolvable typing that allows for the clear definition of what data is and represents, while also providing an interoperable wire protocol so applications can automatically discover each other and share data with little integration effort.

Getting Started with Vortex OpenSplice Configurator Tutorial

Revisit the features of Vortex OpenSplice Configurator on a step-by-step tutorial. The Configurator is a tool that allows you to parse and set all the XML data properly.

The Vortex OpenSplice Configurator includes a rich online guide describing Vortex OpenSplice Configuration options as well as providing context-sensitive help and parameter validation.

Vortex is available to evaluate FREE, click here to download.

DDS at the Tactical Edge

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The Department of Defense’s (DoD) next generation “Third Offset” initiative will target promising technology areas, including robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, and big data, whilst also seeking to improve the military’s collaboration with innovative private sector enterprises.

The latest innovations in real-time data-centric network edge computing based on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard will be key to delivering on some of the key priorities.

A key DoD objective is to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing. The aim is to move from a state of duplication, cumbersome and costly application siloes to a much more cost effective and agile service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission requirements. Cloud computing can enhance battlefield mobility through device and location independence while providing on-demand secure global access to mission data and enterprise services.

Whilst cloud computing carries data back to a central server for storage and analysis with resultant issues in bandwidth capacity, connectivity and latency common to hostile environments; new fog computing and Tactical Cloudlet technologies enable real-time analytics and other functions to be performed at the tactical edge of a network, right at the data source – for example soldiers on the battlefield. This will help enable smart autonomous systems to send, receive and process information when and where it is needed, so ensuring speedier and optimal mission-critical decision making.

Tactical Cloudlets are a means to make cloud services and processing available to mobile users by offloading computation to servers deployed on platforms closer to the users. Cloudlets leverage capabilities such as automatic discovery and VM based provisioning, combined with peer-to-peer communications. Tactical Cloudlets, fog and edge computing will impact the way that the defense community builds the next generation of C4SIR and related military simulation systems.

PrismTech’s Vortex is a proven DDS standards-based technology for efficient, ubiquitous, interoperable, secure and platform independent data sharing across network connected devices. Vortex naturally fits with the fog computing and Tactical Cloudlet paradigm and is the only fog-ready data-sharing infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of defense and aerospace companies – connecting soldiers, unmanned machines, devices and commanders in the field with the intelligence community, and helping to improve decision-making.

Read out latest white paper to find out more >>>