UTA researcher looking to reduce risks of operating UAS over populated areas



Atilla Dogan, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), is looking to minimize the risk of using UAS over populated areas.

Dogan, along with other UTA researchers, plans on doing this by using a $550,000 National Science Foundation grant to gauge the risks posed by UAS. Following this, Dogan and his team will “create algorithms to reduce those risks while the vehicles perform specific tasks.”

For Erian Armanios, chair of the Mechanical and Engineering Department in UTA’s College of Engineering, the grant is just one example of the university’s “commitment to sustainable urban communities and data-driven discovery within the University’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.”

“Autonomous vehicles are emerging as a way of life in accomplishing many tasks in urban society,” Armanios says.

“Dr. Dogan’s research would accelerate their broad implementation by ensuring safety and improving efficiency.”

Through this project, Dogan and his team will assess the risk of UAS being used autonomously and around people while respecting safety, privacy and regulatory concerns.

Following this assessment, Dogan and his team will develop “dynamic risk assessment and guidance algorithms to compute flight paths” that will lead to the least amount of risk while performing a task.

“The knowledge we acquire through this research will not only minimize risks, but will increase the ability of UAS to communicate with ground controllers and each other,” Dogan says.

“We also hope to increase the ability of the vehicle to process information and learn from it to improve performance.”

Besides determining just how autonomous a UAS can be while operating in a populated area, the project will also help the FAA develop regulations for UAS flight, and will contribute to a variety of fields such as autonomy, mobile networking and intelligent control.

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