Uncrewed Aircraft Systems

Uncrewed aircraft systems, sometimes called drones or uncrewed aerial vehicles, are the next frontier of aviation. Researchers at the Aerospace Research Center are developing solutions to advance fundamental and applied UAS technology.

New horizons in flight

image of drone flying

UAS are poised to serve important roles in society, from performing routine or risky tasks to going on reconnaissance or life-saving missions.

ARC researchers are experts in a range of UAS topics, spanning from fundamental vehicle design to algorithm and avionics development and flight testing. Partnering with industry, government, academia and other organizations, ARC is at the cutting-edge of UAS research and often serves as a neutral third party in research projects.

Current initiatives:

  • Autonomy: Preparing UAS to be mission-ready for applications such as disaster management, military reconnaissance, package delivery and infrastructure inspection
  • Robust, all-weather flight: Enabling UAS to fly in challenging weather conditions, such as wind gusts and icing
  • Design and flight testing: Projects focus on the design of avionics systems to support rapid data generation and validation, including robust flight control
  • Solar power: Optimization of path planning is based on the real-time detection of environment and energy harvesting
  • System identification: Answers the questions of how vehicles understand their own capabilities and how this understanding could change due to system degradation or damage

Future-focused research

With faculty and research scientists leading initiatives at all levels of development, ARC is on the cutting-edge of UAS research. Noteworthy accomplishments highlight ARC’s unique position to facilitate collaborations between academia, industry and other organizations. Future developments include focus on policymaking, data gathering, environmental monitoring and continued design and build of UAS.

Interested in collaborating? Reach out to Matt McCrink to discuss ideas and opportunities.


"By conducting undergraduate research at ARC, I had the opportunity to enhance my understanding of engineering theory, develop hands-on building skills and improve my ability to communicate technical content in the workplace. This experience has proven invaluable to me as a flight test engineer for the U.S. Navy."
– Ross Heidersbach, ’19, BS Mechanical Engineering

Autonomy at Work

A partnership with Ohio State’s School of Environmental and Natural Resources allows for in situ testing of UAS reporting capabilities during wildfires. This important data is shared with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

UAS + Jet Engines

The breadth of ARC’s laboratories enabled an industry-based research project focused on jet engine ingestion of UAS.