NSF funded project to develop advanced autopilot
Aerospace Engineering Professor Petros Voulgaris is a member of a research team funded by a new National Science Foundation grant. They are working on an advanced autopilot, which will autonomously evaluate unforeseen circumstances, take the best course of action, and land the plane safely.
The project has been likened to the quick decisions and action taken by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger when the plane he was flying left LaGuardia Airport in 2009 and was struck by birds slightly after takeoff. The decision he made to land the plane on the Hudson River was remarkable, but it did come from someone trained as a fighter pilot in the US Air Force and 30 years as a commercial airline pilot under his belt.
“This is a case of an almost worst case scenario that can yet be remedied by human intelligence,” he said. “It is this capability to defend against these potentially catastrophic failures that we want to build into autonomy without being overly conservative.”
The team includes researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Read the full story.