AIAA Conference Chooses Chung’s Work for Best Paper Award

December 15, 2009
Research work by Soon-Jo Chung and his students has been selected as the Best Paper presented during the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2009 Infotech@Aerospace (I@A) Conference.

The paper, “Neurobiologically Inspired Control of Engineered Flapping Flight,” also has been accepted for publication in the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics.

Along with Chung, an assistant professor in aerospace engineeirng, the paper’s authors are Jeremiah Stoner, a master’s degree student who worked with Chung when he was at Iowa State University, and Michael Dorothy, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Iowa State and is now a PhD student of Chung’s at Illinois.


The award will be presented during the award luncheon of the same conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2010.

Chung came to Illinois in 2009 after having been on faculty at Iowa State for two years. His research interests include aerospace systems, autonomous systems, and robotics. In particular, he studies nonlinear control theory; cooperative control and synchronization of multi-vehicle systems; neurobiologically inspired control of flapping flight and robot locomotion; robust nonlinear control of robots and high performance aerospace vehicles; formation of flying UAVs/MAVs and spacecraft; innovative concepts for space systems; space tethers; control experimentation and instrumentation; vision-based SLAM and path planning in GPS-denied environments.

The paper chosen at the I@A Conference presents a new control approach and a dynamic model for engineered flapping flight with many interacting degrees of freedom. Applications of neurobiologically inspired control systems are explored in the form of Central Pattern Generators (CPG) to control flapping flight dynamics. A rigorous mathematical and control theoretic framework to design complex three dimensional wing motions is presented based on phase synchronization of nonlinear oscillators.

In particular, the researchers show the flapping flying dynamics without a tail or traditional aerodynamic control surfaces can be effectively controlled by a reduced set of CPG parameters that generate phase-synchronized or symmetry-breaking oscillatory motions of two main wings.

Furthermore, by using Hopf bifurcation, Chung’s group shows that smooth wing motions driven by the CPG network can effectively stabilize tailless aircraft alternating between flapping and gliding. Results of numerical simulation and experimental work with a robotic  bat testbed validate the effectiveness of the proposed neurobiologically inspired control approach.

Infotech@Aerospace (I@A) is the AIAA’s premier forum addressing the information-enabled aerospace technologies, systems, and capabilities that are shaping the 21st century. I@A serves as AIAA’s main interface between the Aerospace and Information Systems communities, and provides a unique opportunity for fostering interaction among the varied disciplines across these communities. The conference was held in Seattle this year for four days and about 270 papers were presented. _____________________

Contact: Soon-Jo Chung, Department of Aerospace Engineering, 217/244-2737.

Writer: Susan Mumm, editor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, 217/333-3598.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office, 217/244-7716, editor.