Professor Mark Costello named to the David S. Lewis Professorship for Autonomy

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A recent vote by the Georgia Board of Regents has confirmed the selection of Professor Mark Costello as AE’s new David S. Lewis Professor of Autonomy.

An eight-year member of the GT-AE faculty, Costello said the support he receives from the endowed professorship will enable him to make greater strides in his work with the GT Center for Advanced Machine Mobility(CAMM), a multi-disciplinary research center he launched a little over a year ago.

“Our goal is to build robots that solve the problems that humans face,” he said. “This support will allow us to take new risks in our research, to ask questions that a funder might not see the immediate value in, but will advance the field of mobile platform technologies.”

Aerospace Engineering Chair Vigor Yang applauded Costello’s latest appointment.

“Throughout his tenure at Georgia Tech, Dr. Costello has significantly contributed to the scholarship and research that makes the School of Aerospace Engineering stand out among our peers. With this professorship, we are happy to call attention to his stature as a thought leader in the field of autonomy.”

One of CAMM's most important investments is this 3D printer that enables Costello and his research colleagues to quickly and cheaply produce needed components.

Costello said the professorship will give him more resources to tackle one of the major obstacles preventing wide-spread use of robotic technologies: cost. Some component parts, like the inertial measurement units (IMUs) and the actuators, are currently very pricey. Through CAMM, he hopes to find “friendlier and easier ways” to manufacture all parts, using 3D printers, laser cutters, and other machinery that is coming to the center’s facilities, located in AE’s ESM Building.

Costello is currently working with AE and other GT-CoE colleagues to integrate new technology into air and ground vehicles. In one DARPA-funded project he is looking at the viability of affixing robotic legs to helicopters as a way of making it easier to land the vehicles in steeply graded or rocky terrain. In another project, he is working with a nuclear engineering faculty Anna Erickson, to produce a robotic vehicle that can autonomously review radiation levels.

“The idea is they will fly over nuclear plants to detect and map out the sources of radiation leaks,” he said.

“Right now, it’s something that we’re doing on our own, something that his professorship will support. But, eventually, we think this will be very interesting to Homeland Security or the NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration].”

An associate fellow of the AIAA and a member of ASME, Costello has earned national recognition for his work developing innovative flight mechanics and controls technologies for a variety of flight vehicles, including rotorcraft, projectiles, parafoils, and unmanned air vehicles. He is the P.I. for a long standing joint research program with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in the area of smart weapons and unmanned air vehicles and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier System Center in the area of airdrop system technologies.

Costello is an associate editor for Journal of Aerospace Engineering and has previously served as an associate editor for the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Britanny Grace
  • Created:07/16/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016