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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Grant to Expand Interest in Unmanned Vehicle Development

November 6, 2007

Three departments in the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington have received a $364,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to develop programs intended to meet the critical workforce needs to Texas’ of aerospace and defense industries. The interdisciplinary project will establish an education and training laboratory to create learning materials and teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise, and implement educational innovations in the emerging area of autonomous unmanned vehicle systems.

There is a great deal of interest in autonomous vehicle systems, both in the military and civilian sectors, owing to their potential to perform dangerous, repetitive tasks in remote or hazardous environments. Industry and government want to use unmanned ground, air, surface and underwater vehicles as safe, low-cost, long-endurance platforms. Congress wants one-third of the operational deep strike aircraft of the Armed Forces to be unmanned by 2010 and one third of the operational ground combat vehicles of the Armed Forces to be unmanned by 2015.

Developing an autonomous vehicle system is a multi-disciplinary activity. Co-principal investigators on the two-year project are Drs. Atilla Dogan and Kamesh Subbarao (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering), Brian Huff (Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering) and Arthur Reyes (Computer Science & Engineering).

Their project will result in (1) the development of a multi-disciplinary, two-semester technical elective pertaining to UxV systems design for students preparing to enter the workforce, (2) the development of graduate-level courses for students and workforce professionals with undergraduate college degrees, (3) the development and management of summer workshops for training current workforce, (4) the organization of workshops for high school students, (5) the development of a test and training facility and (6) the possibility of creating a certification program on autonomous unmanned vehicle systems.

The main goal of the project is to help engineering students recognize the need for multi-disciplinary approaches to understand real-world problems and seek connections within and across disciplines. Moreover, the project has the potential of helping the workforce throughout Texas when the developed education/training modules are shared and deployed by other academic institutions. This will also achieve another goal of the project – attracting youth entering the workforce for the first time and incumbent or dislocated workers who wish to obtain training to upgrade their skills.