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Automation and Intelligent Systems Research

Unmanned Systems Capabilities

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

AUVSI is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. Part of UTARI’s exhibit at the AUVSI convention includes demonstrations of unmanned systems platforms including the Jaguar ground vehicle and the Parrot quadcopter. In addition, UTARI features the Beam remote presence system of partner Suitable Technologies. The Beam “walks” the exhibit floor and allows attendees to speak to researchers and staff and tour the UTARI facility in real time.

FAA Test Site Designation/Certificate of Authorization (COA)

Unmanned Vehicles

UTARI is part of the team led by Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi that was named by the Federal Aviation Administration as one of the nation’s six major test sites for unmanned aircraft systems. The Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Initiative team also includes Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station; Camber Corp. of Huntsville, Ala.; the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio; and other research institutions and private-sector companies. The purpose of the FAA designation program is to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace (NAS). Our research topics for the test site proposal include intelligent automatic emergency landing, communications uncertainty research, wind field construction for trajectory prediction, impact of trailing wake vortex and turbulence, rapid conflict avoidance, obstacle detection and avoidance, and development of a low-cost UAS tracking system. In the coming months and years, the FAA test site designation is expected to increase opportunities throughout the state in business, employment, education and research.

The University of Texas at Arlington’s focus on unmanned systems research is reflected in this ongoing effort, and through the work in UTARI’s dedicated Autonomous Systems Laboratory. The FAA recently granted UTARI a Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly in the airspace around our Riverbend Campus, giving our researchers and affiliated faculty a unique venue for testing.

Affiliated Faculty 

Several faculty members from the UT Arlington College of Engineering bring a richness and depth of unmanned systems expertise to the FAA test site project. 

Dr. Kamesh SubbaraoDr. Kamesh Subbarao, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Focus Areas:
Position determination of UAVs using sensors, traching them for conflict prediction and collision avoidance. Development of systems to use existing cellular infrastructure and the Internet to provide locations of UAvs, especially in non-GPS areas.

Dr. Atilla DoganDr. Atilla Dogan, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Focus Areas:
Wind field construction for trajectory prediction and conflict avoidance, obstacle detection and avoidance, impact of trailing wake vortex and turbulence on UAS operations and control, predicting hybrid airspace interaction where unmanned and manned aircraft coexist.

Dr. Frank LewisDr. Frank Lewis, Electrical Engineering

Focus Areas:
Controls for unmanned Systems. UAV work includes Quadrotor UAV, dynamic modeling, flight control and autopilot control structures. Nonlinear control systems, networked dynamical agents on communication graphs, multi-player game theory, and adaptive learning systems. 

Dr. Brian HuffDr. Brian Huff, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Focus Areas:
Low-cost UAS tracking systems capable of feeding UAS identification, position, and trajectory data into the NAS air traffic monitoring system. Investigates the feasibility of creating a low-cost UAS tracking capability that can be used with the smallest of UAV platforms. 

Certificate Program

Beginning in the Fall of 2014, the University of Texas at Arlington will offer an unmanned vehicle systems undergraduate certificate. A collaboration between the College of Engineering and the University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute, the program will offer students in a range of engineering disciplines the opportunity for specialized training in one of the nation's most exciting engineering fields. 

"Our faculty members and student teams already are designing these systems, building them and programming them to perform tasks to aid humankind," Dean Khosrhow Behbehani said. "Whether these systems are used for aerial photography, security, transportation, product delivery or outer space exploration, unmanned vehicle systems will be integral to the future of engineering."

One industry study by the Teal Group found that annual unmanned aerial vehicles spending would more than double during the next decade to reach about $11.6 billion. The industry, the report said, would generate more than $89 billion in spending over the next decade.

The University plans to start a new, graduate level unmanned vehicle systems certification soon. Read more about the program at the UT Arlington News Center. For more information about the undergraduate unmanned vehicles systems certificate, please contact Pranesh Aswath, associate dean for graduate affairs in the College of Engineering, at or visit the website here.

Autonomous Systems Lab

UTARI's dedicated Autonomous Systems Laboratory is home to a wealth of research and development resources for ground, water and air unmanned vehicle systems. The Autonomous Systems Lab includes a variety of platforms and equipment for our student robotics competition teams, a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles (everything from quadrotors to fixed wing aircraft), and command and control systems. Currently, research is focused on communications uncertainty research, wind field construction for trajectory prediction, impact of trailing wake vortex and turbulence, rapid conflict avoidence, automatic emergency landing, and development of a low-cost UAS tracking system. 

For more information about the Autonomous Systems Lab go to: