My research interests are autonomous flight of heterogeneous unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), optimal distributed sensing by mobile robots, controlled mobility in ad-hoc sensor networks, vision-based control, miniature self-deploying systems, guidance and control of unmanned aircraft in complex atmospheric phenomena, and new robot sensor network applications. 

The ability to understand and predict the dynamic behavior of our planet's environment over multiple scales remains an outstanding challenge for science and engineering. New robotic sensor networks will enable the shift from remote observation to in situ science in which autonomous systems actively assimilate data and explore. My research focuses on establishing the fundamental connections between sensing, communication, and control in robotic sensor networks, with an emphasis on autonomous air vehicles. Understanding these connections enables the creation of robust, efficient, persistent robotic sensor networks which can move both sensors and information in the best way to the best locations to make the best forecasts.

A core component of my research philosophy is hardware demonstration of novel concepts and ideas. My group's work combines the investigation of theoretical issues in autonomous networked systems with the design, implementation, and demonstration of cooperative heterogeneous unmanned aircraft systems. To that end, we have developed a fleet of unmanned aircraft and acquired FAA Certificates of Authorization to fly them at our nearby range and in field campaigns. Among other disciplines, my work combines elements of autonomous systems, control and navigation, aviation, and cyber-physical systems.

Eric W. Frew