Senior design team wins the 2018 FAA RAISE award

Team members (from left to right) William Tam, Sahithya Prakash, team advisor and Megan S. Ryerson, John Kearney, and Max Li.

At the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee of the Council of University Transportation Centers on behalf of the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, awarded the Secretary’s Student RAISE Award to a student team from the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Engineering senior design team members John Kearney, Max Li, William Tam, and Sahithya Prakash, along with their team advisor, Megan S. Ryerson, who has appointments in the Department of City & Regional Planning in PennDesign and the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, accepted their award this past Saturday. The Secretary’s RAISE award was created to recognize innovative scientific and engineering concepts and student achievements that have the potential to significantly impact the future of aerospace or aviation.

The selection was made by the Federal Aviation Administration based on an evaluation of the technical merit of each submission, along with other considered elements such as professionalism and leadership qualities exhibited by the nominated students.

The award-winning team focused on the design and implementation of a centralized air traffic control (ATC) system for autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (aUAVs) in order to mitigate the risk of aUAV-on-aUAV mid-air collisions. The team was motivated by the potential benefits derived from using aUAVs within an urban environment for tasks such as package delivery and search-and-rescue operations. The team’s ATC solution identifies aUAV trajectory conflicts in real-time, and transmits conflict resolution protocols back to the appropriate aUAVs.