The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Craig Woolsey, an associate professor of aerospace and ocean engineering in the College of Engineering, for expertise in autonomous vehicles and for helping lead the university’s effort to obtain a Federal Aviation Administration-approved test site for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Woolsey is the director of the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems, which is a research arm for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science and the College of Engineering.
His research in unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous systems helped Virginia Tech win a Federal Aviation Administration bid to win one of only six unmanned aircraft systems research and test site operations in the United States.
Virginia Tech has made significant achievements in robotics and autonomous systems, expertise that was recognized when the Federal Aviation Administration selected the university to lead one of only six unmanned aircraft systems research and test site operations across the United States. The FAA selected Virginia Tech’s proposal after a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 competing proposals from 24 states.
His research interests include nonlinear control of mechanical systems, autonomous vehicle dynamics and control, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Autonomous underwater vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles are used by scientists, industry, and the military for a wide variety of purposes, from agricultural studies to search and rescue missions. Unmanned marine and aerial vehicles are also used for what are referred to as “dirty, dull, or dangerous” missions.
Woolsey works to overcome challenges to the further development of autonomous systems. For example, autonomous vehicles must be able to operate safely in uncertain environments and perceive and respond appropriately to threats to their own safety, and more importantly, the safety of people and property.
Autonomous vehicles must also work efficiently to minimize the resources needed to support a mission. Ongoing research focuses on perception and planning, reliability, and efficiency of autonomous vehicles, particularly autonomous ocean and atmospheric vehicles.
Woolsey has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award, and the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award.
He received his doctoral and master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.
The goals of the Scholar of the Week are to recognize individuals while also telling people about research and scholarly activities at the university.
Recognition is based on research and/or scholarship.
Please nominate individuals — not teams, groups, or more than one person.
Please provide a sentence describing the research, scholarship, or creative work in non-technical, generally accessible language. A second sentence with an example or application is helpful.