Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory


The Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory (AVL) is a facility in the Department of Aerospace Engineering that conducts research and development in the area of biologically inspired robotics. We seek to distil the fundamental sensing and feedback principles that govern locomotive behavior in small organisms that will enable the next generation of autonomous microsystems.


Our goals are:

  • To educate students studying for BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in the multi-disciplinary area of biologically inspired autonomous robotics
  • To pursue basic research in behavioral and comparative observation, modeling, and simulation of natural systems as well as theoretical formulation and hardware implementation of fundamental biological principles in artificial systems
  • To pursue applied research, especially in the prototype development of biologically inspired autonomous vehicles for civilian and military applications

Research Focus

  • Bio-inspired sensing and estimation
  • Distributed sensing and sensory processing (Wide-Field Integration)
  • Low-power, lightweight arrayed MEMS and analog VLSI based avionics
  • Flapping, rotary, and fixed wing flight mechanics, stability and control
  • Insect-inspired mechanisms for gust rejection and compensation
  • Autonomous guidance, navigation, and collision avoidance
  • Integration of embedded hardware/software systems and communications
  • Adaptive learning and control
  • Path planning and autonomous decision


Located in the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, our unique capabilities include rapid-prototyping facilities for microsystem fabrication and development, electronics PCB prototyping and assembly, a VICON marker-based visual tracking system that provides direct measurements of 6-DOF vehicle position and orientation for system identification and real-time feedback, a low speed wind tunnel with a specialized high speed camera system for insect tracking and wing kinematics measurement, and advanced hardware and software tools for visual-based simulation of flight systems.