Fault detection, diagnosis, and prognosis are essential tasks in the operation of autonomous spacecraft, instruments, and in situ platforms. One of NASA’s key mission requirements is robust state estimation. Sensing, using a wide range of sensors and sensor fusion approaches, plays a central role in robust state estimation, and there is a need to diagnose sensor failure as well as component failure. Sensor validation can be considered to be part of the larger effort of improving reliability and safety.
The standard methods for solving the sensor validation problem are based on probabilistic analysis of the system, from which the method based on Bayesian networks is most popular. Therefore, these methods can only predict the most probable faulty sensors, which are subject to the initial probabilities defined for the failures.
The method developed in this work is based on a model-based approach and provides the faulty sensors (if any), which can be logically inferred from the model of the system and the sensor readings (observations). The method is also more suitable for the systems when it is hard, or even impossible, to find the probability functions of the system. The method starts by a new mathematical description of the problem and develops a very efficient and systematic algorithm for its solution. The method builds on the concepts of analytical redundant relations (ARRs).
This work was done by Farrokh Vatan of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.