Thursday, July 20, 2023

A group of new hires, interns, and co-ops, who work in the area of airborne autonomy at Collins Aerospace, toured the University of Iowa Operator Performance Lab flight test facility. Tom “Mach” Schnell,  Capt. Jim "Max" Gross Chair in Engineering and OPL director, presented the lab to the group and explained how OPL tests and operates autonomy in a variety of contexts.

Collins' Autonomy and Mission System Engineering (AMES) department is attempting to expose current interns and co-ops to different aspects of engineering and specifically flight test activities. The interns and co-ops are a mixture of students studying systems, aerospace, and computer science, and supporting the RapidEdge and Air Launched Effects (ALE) program. As RapidEdge and ALE prepare for flight tests of the mission system and autonomy components, Collins officials wants the students to see facilities with test assets different than the current labs at Collins Aerospace.

Collins is seeking OPL's help in RapidEdge Penguin UAS (unmanned aerial systems) setup up and flight test support. The tour provides context around those activities to the student employees. 

OPL is a laboratory of the University of Iowa Technology Institute, a research arm of the UI College of Engineering.