The REU site will provide undergraduates with a comprehensive research experience in the context of unmanned systems, a rapidly growing field of scientific and technological research. REU students will participate in carefully prepared research projects on unmanned systems with topics including unmanned aerial vehicle control, behavior studies of robots in complex environments around humans, characterizing and developing vehicles for atmospheric profiling, and asset management during wildfires with unmanned aerial vehicles. Research activities across the projects will be structured to provide a systematic research experience for the cohort, while enabling flexibility for each participant to focus on a particular area. The projects will be hosted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems Lab (UNL NIMBUS), which has graduated over 30 undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students in the last five years, and is a leader in aerial unmanned systems and their application to the environment.
Competitive stipend: $6,000
Suite-style room and meal plan
Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
Campus parking and/or bus pass
Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
Despite decades of control theory and education, engineering students often leave with undergraduate degrees still unable to completely design, verify, and implement controllers in computer-controlled systems. Furthermore, the techniques involved in this process are rapidly changing but educational strategies rarely leverage them. In this project students will learn to model, design, and implement in software a controller for an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The focus will be on rapidly developing models, verifying them, and synthesizing the controllers for the vehicle. Each controller will also be field tested providing an opportunity for students to experimentally validate the underlying theory as well as develop skills in robotics field experimentation.
Development and Characterization of Atmospheric Profiling UAVs
Understanding the lower thousand meters of the atmosphere is critical to better predict severe weather development and small UAVs have significant potential to aid in these measurements. Current weather monitoring relies on radars, weather balloons, and airplanes that primarily measure the atmosphere 1000 meters above ground level and ground based weather stations that measure the atmosphere between ground level and ten to fifty meters. The NIMBUS Lab is developing systems and algorithms for deploying and recovering UAVs and other robot systems to better monitor the lower atmosphere. This project will entails working with a range of faculty and other students with backgrounds in CS, ME, EE, and Atmospheric Sciences to develop systems and algorithms to help address this challenging problem. Students with interests or backgrounds in any of these or related fields are welcome to apply.
The REU students involved in this work will work on an interdisciplinary team. They will learn about a variety of sensors, lead the characterization of these sensors in the lab, and assist in the field trials. Each REU student will also research a new type of atmospheric sensor that we have not yet investigated (e.g. liquid water content sensors, particulate size sensors, Doppler anemometers) and develop a configuration and mounting plan and the associated hypotheses as to how it will perform under different conditions. The REU students will participate in the CloudMap field trials with over 60 researchers to learn how to collaborate and present research to obtain feedback.
Interactions with Telepresence Systems in Complex Environments with and without Explicit Purpose
Much of the current research related to unmanned systems approaches to humans in human-robot interactions occurs in simulated environments or with otherwise unnatural testing conditions that may make the results difficult to generalize. A significant portion of this research occurs in public spaces such as malls, but does not consider the impact of robot approach on the quality of the interaction. This line of research proposes to understand human attitudes toward unmanned system-initiated assistance in a public space in order to assist designers with decisions on how to build systems that are helpful and to aid public space administrators with decisions on how and when to deploy unmanned systems that will be beneficial to patrons. This project will assess the inclusion of a visible purpose (such as distribution of items) on interactions with various unmanned systems to determine whether it impacts acceptance and distancing.