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October 16, 2023: Eric Muir

October 16, 2023
4:00 p.m.
Room: 2150 Torgersen Hall
Eric Muir, Founder and CTO of Volair Technologies Inc.
Faculty Host:  Dr. Ella Atkins

"Advancing Aviation-specific Sensing and Perception for Safety Today and Autonomy Tomorrow"

Abstract:  Excitement is in the air! Over the past decade, several new initiatives in aerospace have brought forth a promising future of transformative aerial mobility, from electric-propulsed aircraft to urban air taxis to hypersonic commercial flight. In light of this exciting progress, numerous opportunities exist to address  challenges facing the current aviation ecosystem while preparing for future growth of these new aerial modalities. Advanced sensing and perception technologies are one avenue to improve the safety and efficiency of today’s aircraft and provide the foundation for advanced automation and autonomy of tomorrow. Advanced on-board sensors, including camera, lidar, and radar, combined with sophisticated processing techniques, such as deep learning, offer a new avenue for advanced safety features during approach to land that augment those provided by GPS, ADS-B, and other existing systems. Given the recent uptick in high-profile runway incursions and near misses, solutions for terminal area operations, where 90% of aviation accidents occur, will be emphasized. Specifically, the application of runway detection and localization using an on-board camera system will be described along with the critical enabling technologies of flight data collection, simulation, and cloud-based software development.

Bio:   Dr. Eric Muir is founder and CTO of Volair Technologies where he leads technology development of pioneering safety, automation, and perception systems for aviation. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He began his career at Boeing where he led a team of ~50 Boeing software and hardware engineers in pioneering autonomous flight technologies. These efforts spanned CONOPS definition, test aircraft integration and flight test, flight simulation, and perception/localization algorithm development with particular focus on autonomous taxi capabilities and autonomous landing capabilities. He then led a team at Rescale, a cloud computing company, developing solutions to compute-heavy simulation problems. Eric has demonstrated leadership and technical expertise relating to multi-modal autonomous flight system development including motion planning and concept of operations definition. Eric lives in Bozeman, MT with his wife and two children and enjoys taking advantage of the outdoor lifestyle offered by the greater Yellowstone region.