ECE Contributes to Aircraft Safety

NASA has approved a two-year extension of a multi university project to enhance aircraft safety headed by Professor Jorge Aravena as Principal Investigator and Kemin Zhou, Chair of the Department and head of the fault tolerant control team. The project also includes research teams at University of New Orleans and the University of Lafayette and was initially funded by a $1.6 million grant from NASA and Louisiana Board of Regents. The extension provides more than $1 million in additional funding.
The goal of the project is to develop better aircraft self-diagnostic tools and integrate them with smarter flight control systems allowing the plane's computer system to detect a problem earlier, recommend the best course of action or, if necessary take control of the flight.

The ECE team is responsible for the development of "fault tolerance strategies" that are capable of preserving the integrity of the plane even when problems have occured. This "automatic safe recovery" is implemented through novel techniques first proposed by Zhou. To help with their mission, the LSU researchers are using software provided by NASA, including a mathematical model of an entire Boeing 747.

The recently completed three-year work is the first phase of the project that is part of the Aviation Safety and Security Program (AvSSP) which is a joint venture through NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration involving major aerospace industries and several other universities.



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