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Research

Controls

We lead controls research, dealing with the position, direction, safety and communication aspects of a single vehicle or swarm of vehicles in motion through air, water or space.

We offer courses in the guidance, navigation, and control of unmanned aerial systems as well as the optimization and control of networked systems. We are leaders in research in control of autonomous systems, bio-inspired engineering, model predictive control, dynamical modeling, and estimation for single and distributed systems. We develop tools that address the temporal, spatial and nonlinear challenges posed by autonomy.

A&A undergrad and graduate students have the opportunity to explore practical applications for autonomy by gaining hands-on flight-testing and field operations experience with interdisciplinary collaborators and partners.

Behçet Açikmeşe

Key research areas

  • Automatic control
  • Autonomous vehicle control
  • Control theory
  • Dynamics and optimization
  • Flight operations
  • Underwater vehicle design
  • Unmanned aerial systems

Associated faculty

Research highlights

NASA’s SPLICE is the landing app Apollo didn’t have

Researchers in the Autonomous Control Lab and the RAIN Lab developed guidance algorithms to help land spacecrafts in areas that we don’t have mapped out well.

A successful Mars rover landing ends with a crash

A&A’s Behcet Açıkmeşe helped develop hurling algorithms to land NASA's rovers Curiosity and Perseverance. 

A&A's Research Takes Flight

A&A research will get the rare opportunity to fly in real flight conditions on the 2021 Boeing ecoDemonstrator.

Hide and Seek

The Autonomous Flight Systems Lab builds a drone-based machine learning dataset to find those lost in the wilderness.

Award-winning student team

A&A’s Charlie Kelly and Taylor Reynolds launched the A&A CubeSat Club, with support from Aeroject Rocketdyne. The club is developing its first satellite, SOC-i, that will reconcile constraints in its orientation and imaging systems. With these capabilities, SOC-i will be a step toward comprehensive environmental monitoring.

Related News

Karen Leung headshot

Thu, 08/11/2022 | UW College of Engineering

Amazon and University of Washington announce inaugural Science Hub faculty research awards

A&A’s Leung receives inaugural grant from UW + Amazon Science Hub to advance safety for robot planning and control.

Kristi Morgansen headshot

Thu, 07/28/2022

Kristi Morgansen awarded Boeing Egvedt Chairship

The UW selected Morgansen for this honor for her excellence in research, teaching, service and A&A leadership.

Casey Dunn, Finn Van Donkelaar, and James Penna

Wed, 03/16/2022 | GeekWire

Wave Motion wins $1.3M award to work on prototype jet-gun launcher for U.S. Navy

A start-up founded by three A&A alumni won $1.3M from the U.S. Navy to develop a barrel-less space launcher technology.

 

Behçet Açıkmeşe headshot

Thu, 12/09/2021

Behçet Açıkmeşe elevated to 2022 IEEE Fellow

Professor Açıkmeşe voted IEEE Fellow for optimization-based nonlinear control and planetary landing systems.