University researchers share findings with Army

July 21, 2017

By David McNally, ARL Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 21, 2017) -- University students researching unmanned aerial vehicles visited the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to discuss their recent findings July 17.

The Army reached out to the students to promote collaboration, officials said.

"We invited the University of Maryland and Penn State University to present on their ongoing efforts on micro air vehicles," said Michael Avera, a researcher with the laboratory's Vehicle Technology Directorate. "This is an opportunity for ARL researchers and the students at local universities to present each other's research, network and learn a little bit about what each other is doing."

The students came to the attention of Army researchers because they had participated in a May 2017 competition at the at Fort Worth, Texas.

"The students were challenged to design, build and fly a micro air vehicle to autonomously navigate a course, identify targets and safely avoid obstacles," Avera said.

"It's always good to have opportunities to make each other aware of their research efforts and to also set up collaboration opportunities through the ARL Open Campus Open House initiative," Avera said.

The lab is also sponsoring two of the students – one from each university - for a summer internship at the Vehicle Technology Directorate.

"They have extensive knowledge of their efforts, so it's a good opportunity for the interns themselves to have the opportunity to present in a formal professional setting and also to meet new researchers that they're not familiar with but to also learn about what these researchers are doing here."

Avera said he hoped the students also left with a better idea of what the Army is researching.

"We're hoping that they take away something that they did not that was going on at ARL from the students and researcher side at the universities and vice versa," he said.

The students put their UAVs to display during the presentation and answered many technical questions about processors, control strategies and aerodynamics.

"They can talk with researchers about their design choices and the sensors, the motors and the rotors and all the components that they selected," Avera said. "They can justify the calculations they did to create these vehicles and ultimately the design choices."

Avera's involvement in founding and advancing the local Aberdeen Chapter of the American Helicopter Society guides his engagement with outside researchers following the same path, he said.

"We like to do outreach events like this where we bring in university students where it's a collaboration opportunity, a display and a familiarization opportunity," Avera said. "We are always looking for opportunities similar to this in micro air vehicles, sensors, vehicle technology, all of the disciplines that ARL works on related to helicopters and vertical lift platforms."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: July 21, 2017