NRC Research Associate Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies

  sign inOpen Printer View

Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Autonomous Systems: Novel behaviors and applications of air and ground robots


US Air Force Academy, Mechanical Engineering Department

RO# Location
13.04.09.C0636 US Air Force Academy, CO 808406200


name email phone
Michael Anderson 801.791.7854


The USAFA Department of Mechanical Engineering is aggressively expanding its research efforts in autonomous systems, mechatronics and Robot Operating System (ROS) with the dual goals of contributing pioneering research and exposing our cadets to cutting-edge technology and approaches. In our department, we work with Air Force Research Laboratory and other universities to develop novel systems and approaches for a number of robotics applications of ground and air vehicles.  These projects are supported by Department of Defense sponsors that provide funding, material resources, subject matter expertise and access to urgent engineering problems. This work has resulted in numerous technical publications and patent applications. Previous research efforts have included exploiting autonomous systems for exploration work, such as entering unknown indoor environments, collecting data, and transmitting it back to the entrance.  These projects include a mix of air and ground vehicles, operating cooperatively to place surveillance sensors and communication relays.  Current research is focused on developing flexible and light-weight state estimation for stability and navigation of multi-rotor aircraft and ground vehicles in GPS-denied environments [1]. Emerging estimation and navigation algorithms will be rapidly applied to hardware systems in novel ways to demonstrate potential solutions to relevant Air Force problems. Another research thrust is novel applications and functionality of robotics, to include overcoming simple barriers, such as stairs, walls, fences, and doors, and placing objects. Researchers will have the opportunity to work alongside USAFA faculty and cadets to develop robotic systems and algorithms, and apply them to urgent, real-world problems.

[1] Anderson, M., Brink, K., Willis, A., “Real-Time Visual Odometry Covariance Estimation for UAV Navigation,” AIAA Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, (20193), accessed March 5, 2019. doi:

robotics; autonomy; autonomous systems; GPS-denied navigation; state estimation; mechatronics; design; innovation


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

Copyright © 2022. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy