Dr. Siva Banda (Air Force Research Laboratory)

February 6, 2017

Autonomous UAVs: A Look into the Future


Abstract: The future of Autonomous Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) depends on today’s Science & Technology (S&T) programs. While there is a tremendous amount of worldwide S&T in autonomy, this presentation will focus on US Air Force (USAF) programs we believe are critical to enabling autonomous operations. The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Aerospace Systems Directorate, followed by a review of three critical “Game Changing” technologies currently under development by the USAF: Hypersonics, Directed Energy, and Autonomy. Future directions & plans for all three technology areas will be discussed, however, a more in depth discussion of autonomous UAVs and associated technologies is provided. Specifically, the challenges, technology maturity, and future focus of the following technology areas will be discussed: Automatic Collision Avoidance, State Awareness & Real-Time Response, Trust & Certification, Airspace Integration, Aerospace Control, Small UAS Power & Control, Tactical Autonomy, and Enhanced Mobility Operations. Combining some of these separate technology areas into an integrated demonstration will be highlighted with a discussion of several programs including the Loyal Wingman program and the Automated Intelligent Battle Management program. This review of current USAF technology programs provides a look into the future of autonomous UAV operations.


Bio: Dr. Siva S. Banda is the Chief Scientist of the Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA. He is responsible for assessing the quality, relevance, and technical approach of the Directorate’s technical portfolio including air breathing propulsion, missile and rocket propulsion, power and thermal management, hypersonics, aerospace structures, vehicle aerodynamics and flight control. Dr. Banda’s contributions have been recognized in multiple forums and in multiple ways, most notably through: IEEE Control Systems Technology Award; the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Silver Medal; IFAC Nathaniel Nichols Medal, the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award; election as a Fellow of RAeS, AIAA, IEEE, and IFAC; and Membership of the National Academy of Engineering. He serves on Advisory Boards at the University of Michigan, University of Central Florida, University of Washington, and University of Dayton. He serves as an Advisor to AFOSR, ONR, ARO, DARPA, NSF, and leads several international technical activities within the NATO Science and Technology Organization. He has served on the Editorial Boards of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, the International Journal of Robust & Nonlinear Control, and the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control & Dynamics. Dr. Banda has authored over 200 technical papers, reports and books, holds two patents, and has delivered more than 130 invited lectures worldwide.