UTSA awarded $300,000 from Department of Defense for brain-controlled drone research
(Sept. 15, 2014) -- The UTSA Unmanned Systems Laboratory (USL) has flown under the radar since its founding in 2012.
Operating out of the UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the USL is managed by Mary L. Clark Endowed Distinguished Professor and Department Chair Daniel Pack, one of the nation's leading teachers and researchers in unmanned aircraft systems, commonly referred to as drones.
Pack and his team of undergraduate and graduate students have been making advancements in three primary areas of research: man-machine interfaces; cooperative unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); and system of systems (how smaller components work together in larger systems).
The UTSA team recently was awarded a $300,000 contract from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to study how humans can effectively interact with autonomous aerial vehicles. The goal of the project is to use brain signals of a soldier to navigate small UAVs for military operations such as collecting intelligence, performing surveillance and conducting reconnaissance missions.
Current UAVs must have a ground station that relays instructions from a human operator to an aerial vehicle, but ground stations are static and can restrict soldiers and their units from moving freely.
Using new electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment that UTSA recently acquired through a separate Department of Defense grant and working cooperatively with Yufei Huang, UTSA professor of electrical and computer engineering, Pack, Huang and their teams hope to eliminate the need for ground stations by extracting vehicle control signals directly from brain signals of a soldier operating one or more aerial vehicles.
"As autonomous UAV technologies advance, it is critical that we understand the governing principles of man-machine interactions to utilize the complementary capabilities of man and autonomous machines," said Pack. "This research will be part of UTSA's efforts toward discovering those principles."
While UAVs are heavily used in military applications, they are being used more commonly for civilian operations such as search and rescue, weather analysis and surveillance over land and water.
UTSA and San Antonio's Southwest Research Institute are members of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence and Innovation (LSUASC), a consortium of 16 research institutions and private-sector service companies. In June, LSUASC was granted approval by the FAA to serve as a test site for unmanned aircraft.
Before joining UTSA in 2012, Pack served in both faculty and administrative positions at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., including founding director of its Academy Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research and director of its Sensor-based Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.
Pack received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University, his M.S. in engineering science from Harvard University and his B.S. in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. Additionally, he is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in electrical engineering.
Learn more at the UTSA Unmanned Systems Laboratory, UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and UTSA College of Engineering websites.
Learn to use the simple but powerful features of EndNote®, a citation management tool. In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn to setup an EndNote library, save references and PDFs, and automatically create and edit a bibliography.Virtual Event
Learn to use Zotero®, a citation manager that can help you store and organize citations you find during your research. Zotero can generate bibliographies in various styles, insert in-text citations and allow you to share sources with collaborators.Virtual Event
Do you need to use a LaTeX program for writing your research papers? This workshop covers how to enable a list of your references in a BibTeX file to automatically output in-text citations and a bibliography using a LaTeX program such as Overleaf.Virtual Event
This solo exhibition features the work of Delita Martin, a world-renowned master printmaker known for creating representations of black women in complex and luxuriant narrative portraits.Russell Hill Rogers Galleries, UTSA Southwest Campus
UTS Bold Careers interns and ambassadors will be presenting on prevalent and pioneered African Americans in technology.Virtual Event
Pressbooks is an open educational resource authoring platform for simple book publishing. This will be a workshop that covers the the basics of using the platform.Virtual Event
Meet and connect employers for full-time and internship opportunities.HEB Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus