Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles

What are Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles? 

Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are aircraft and rotorcraft without pilots or passengers that are operated remotely and that have a high degree of autonomy. UAVs are used in a wide variety of applications that include aerial photography, product delivery, search and rescue, wildlife surveys, weather monitoring, agriculture and aerial crop surveys, construction, journalism, law enforcement, military reconnaissance, and visual inspection of infrastructure like bridges, roads, and power lines. UAVs range in size from insect-scale drones that fit in the palm of your hand to super heavy-lift drones that can carry hundreds of pounds. Safety and reliability are increasingly important design challenges as UAVs are integrated with the National Airspace. 

What is going on in UAV research at Illinois? 

UAV research at Illinois is focused on design, navigation, and industrial applications. Projects in the area of design include the development of distributed electric propulsion aircraft. Projects in the area of navigation include joint GPS and 3D-vision direct position estimation, deep coupling of GPS-LIDAR-IMU data, magnetometer-based localization, and distributed IMU systems. Projects in the area of industrial applications include the automation of building and infrastructure construction monitoring. Sponsors include NSF, NASA, and AFRL.

Who are the faculty members in the area?

Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Professor Emeritus

Courses in this Area 

  • AE456 (Introduction to GPS) 
  • AE482 (Introduction to Robotics) 
  • AE483 (UAV Navigation and Control) 
  • AE484 (UAV Performance, Design, and Fabrication)
  • AE598ANS (Advanced Global Navigation Satellite Systems)

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The Department of Aerospace Engineering offers numerous options for advanced degrees,  including: 5-year Bachelor/Master of Science; Master of Science; Online Master of Science - Non-thesis; Master of Engineering in Aerospace Systems; Online MEng in Aerospace Systems; and Doctorate.

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