University of Texas at Austin


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Scale New Heights

By John Holden

Published Jan. 21, 2021

Scaling autonomous cargo transportation technologies will revolutionize how goods are shipped worldwide. Credit: NASA

NASA is funding a major project on the future of autonomous air cargo transportation, and the Oden Institute will play a leading role. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout — the largest global logistics effort since World War II — has underscored the importance of increasing efficiencies in the global supply chain infrastructure. Autonomous aerial vehicles have the potential to revolutionize cargo transportation.

Researchers from the Oden Institute and the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the Cockrell School of Engineering will lead a team that will develop methods that could be used to validate the cost and scalability of conceptual autonomous cargo operations. They will be providing theory and concepts for all types of vehicles — from large unmanned cargo aircraft crossing the U.S. to the single drone that can drop a package in residential neighborhoods.

The team includes experts from Purdue University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Lincoln Labs, Morgan State University, Del Valle ISD and an industry partner, Cavan Solutions, in a NASA University Leadership Initiative (ULI).

The full story is published on the UT News site.