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Robotics & Autonomous Systems

We work on aerospace systems that include networks of satellites circling the earth, spacecraft going beyond our orbit, machines that can perform complex tasks in space like fixing or assembling crafts, space stations, and other equipment, and even rovers on the Moon, Mars, or asteroids. These autonomous and robotic machines must work remotely, often without direct inputs, not knowing exactly what they will come across. They must navigate to avoid crashing into each other or other obstacles. We develop algorithms and software that work for guidance, navigation and control and enhance the stability, performance and robustness of these systems. Figuring out how to do all of these things well in space means that we can improve our autonomous and robotic systems here on earth as well.

Student club highlight

a group of students

Husky Robotics

Husky Robotics designs, builds, programs and competes Mars Rovers in simulated missions while providing students with experience in machining, circuit design, coding and project management.

Research highlights

Peering into snow

The Autonomous Flight Systems Lab outfits a drone to monitor snowpack.

Hide and seek

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

members of the RAIN lab

RAIN Lab's research on the science of sync published in Science

Research on sync and the structure of networks by the RAIN Lab, led by Mehran Mesbahi, was published in Science.

A&A drone mapping project advances wildfire modeling

A&A’s Autonomous Flight Systems Lab is partnering with the US Forest Service to improve the efficiency of data collection for wildfire modeling.

Award highlights

Sarah Li

Sarah Li named Amelia Earhart Scholar

Ph.D. student Sarah Li wins Amelia Earhart Scholarship for her dynamic games approach to autonomous networks.

Behcet Acikmese

Açıkmeşe wins IEEE Technical Excellence Award

Açıkmeşe won the IEEE's Control Systems Society's 2019 Technical Excellence Award in Aerospace Control.

Related News

Skeleton of a snake

Mon, 04/10/2023

Put more muscle into that structure

Adding soft actuation to rigid structures yields many key aerospace benefits, including strength, flexibility and efficiency.

A model lunar rover

Mon, 08/15/2022 | UW News

UW to host college students for NASA-funded lunar rover challenge

Eight college teams come to the UW to go to the Moon - or at least a simulated version of it.

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.

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.