Cameron Lucero, M.S.
Education: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering (May 2014)
Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Automated Conflict Detection & Mitigation for En Route Coordinated Flight Paths (2013)
Mentor: Garth Thompson, Ph.D.
In today's general aviation industry the number of aircraft that are occupying the nation's airspace continues to grow. This growth is causing concerns such as Air Traffic Control (ATC) management limitations. Due to human operation within ATC, their ability to detect and mitigate collisions is causing delays, which in turn is causing issues such as costs incurred within industry and the public who travel by plane. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) have initiated many projects to resolve these issues, such as the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) and now Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which is pushing technology in autopilot advancement.
Autopilot design involves the process of modeling a system and its states and developing a method of controlling those states autonomously. Comprised within an autopilot is a feedback control system and a complex array of sensors. In this document we will look at the components of autopilot design like modeling the kinematics and kinetics and then looking at how to implement them into a control structure, which is what controls the performance of the aircraft.