The Michigan Engineer News Center

Audrow Nash earns NSF Fellowship for unmanned aerial vehicle research

Audrow's research focuses on using coordinated groups of UAVs to continuously and autonomously survey biogas emissions in landfills. | Short Read
EnlargeAudrow Nash

Audrow Nash, a Master’s student in EE:Systems, has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his work developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor biogas emissions in landfills.

Audrow’s research focuses on using coordinated groups of UAVs to continuously and autonomously survey biogas emissions in landfills. From the emission data, a model of the waste degradation process will be generated and used to effectively recycled waste for its biogases – the goal is to generate utility-scale power from waste.

Audrow believes that the utility of UAVs will be limited in the short- and medium-term by a scarcity of competent pilots. To remove this bottleneck and to make systems that use UAVs scalable, groups of UAVs must be coordinated autonomously. This project will be an opportunity to put a group of coordinated UAVs to work solving a real-world problem.

In addition to his research, Audrow is the president and an interviewer for Robots Podcast, a non-profit robotics news organization founded in 2006 (then called Talking Robots) by Dr. Dario Floreano, an intelligent systems professor at EPFL, Switzerland. Robots Podcast describes their interviews as one expert interviewing another expert and their goal is to provide free, quality robotics news for the masses. In February, Robots Podcast celebrated its 200th episode and a decade of operation.


The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Posted: April 21, 2016

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read