The Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies

The Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) promotes interdisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas in the expanding area of autonomous systems. These systems include, but are not limited to, drones and robots for use in science, industry, and medicine. The research conducted by the center addresses sensing, control, vision, and other emerging areas. The center promotes a synergic environment where machines and humans share the workplace. It also serves as an arena for ideas to translate into reality and be demonstrated to academic researchers as well as to the general public through educational outreach.

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Advanced Drone Research

Currently, drones are highly unstable flyers and are prone to atmospheric conditions. CAST’s unique open-air wind tunnel facility allows researchers to study the complexity and challenges of control and stability associated with autonomous single or collective drone systems. Performance of single or formation flying drones can be tested and studied under severe atmospheric conditions such as rain, hail, sandstorms, turbulence, and gust.

Autonomous Explorers

With JPL as a key partner, CAST is a world-leading center for research and technologies that is advancing the development of autonomous geological and planetary explorations. Specialized autonomous flyers, are among the projects that CAST scientists and engineers plan to undertake. These flyers are typically used for planetary atmospheres or autonomous underwater vehicle exploration of Titan’s and Europa’s oceans.

Robots in Medicine

Medical robots have enabled surgeons to use less invasive methods to perform many critical operations and diagnostic procedures. Robots are also increasingly used in physical rehabilitation after strokes or spinal cord injury, and to assist the elderly. The use of advanced imaging techniques, machine learning, and smart implantable devices, coupled with future advances in autonomy and robotics, has the potential to transform American healthcare.