The ACE Lab at WPI addresses challenges related to small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and self-driving cars. We are proud to be a part of the Aerospace Engineering program at WPI.
In the air UAVs – or “drones” in common parlance – have found a wide variety of commercial and civilian applications including photography, videography, surveillance, infrastructure inspection, and more. Many off-the-shelf UAVs are now capable of moving between given waypoints without remote piloting, but fully autonomous motion remains a challenge. At the ACE Lab, we address (1) motion planning and control to achieve higher levels of autonomy, and (2) interactions of planning and sensing among a team of heterogeneous UAVs.
On the ground Self-driving cars have started to transition from research prototypes to mainstream machines. The degrees to which these cars can drive themselves without the driver’s help differ, but the underlying technologies are similar. All self-driving cars on the roads today rely heavily on sensors carried onboard to understand the environment. Meanwhile, there is vigorous research on making cars – whether self-driving or not – connect to each other through wireless communications (so-called vehicle-to-vehicle – V2V – links). In collaboration with WPI’s Wireless Innovation Lab, we address self-driving autonomy with the help of data transmitted over V2V links.