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ATLAS: Advanced Transportation in Leading-edge Aerial Systems

Status: Ongoing

Sponsors: NASA ($79,995), Rabbit Raisers ($2.590), Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering ($,1,200)

Description: Autonomous transportation technologies have made massive advancements in recent years, from the widespread acceptance of camera-carrying drones for consumer applications to self-driving cars. However, one application of transportation autonomy has lagged behind in advancement process, namely, aerial transportation. Remote-controlled aerial systems have been widely deployed, but fully autonomous systems, with the exception of military drones, have seen limited implementations. The ATLAS project aims to assist this advancement process with the development of autonomous aerial systems through the creation of a heavy-lift drone, mainly made out off-the-shelf components, capable of carrying a human payload with minimal or no passenger input. The development of this system will increase interest in the use of fully autonomous aerial systems for heavy payloads and human transportation, potentially kick starting new technological advancement paths.

Student Team: Isaac Smithee (ME, leader and student PI), Nick Runge (ME), Ryan Twedt (ME), Wade Olson (ME), Sterling Berg (EE), Anthony Bachmeier (Ness School), Matt Berg (Ness School)

Advisors: Marco Ciarcià (faculty PI), Todd Letcher 

Acronyms (unless extremely common, like NASA, LASER) can’t be used in an abstract. Remove UAS from here and move it to the first occurrence after the abstract.

Development of an ADCS Strategy for Fast and Accurate Pointing of a CubeSat for Hyperspectral Imaging.

Status: Ongoing


Design and Development of a Single-Axis Attitude Testbed for ADCS Strategies Validation.

Status: Ongoing


Control Strategy of a Light Manipulator for Multirotor Applications.

Status: Ongoing


Design, development, and assembly of a CubeSat as orbiting testbed for bio-experiments.

Status: Proposal under development

Team: Dr. Marco Ciarcià (SDSU, Co-PI), Dr. Anamika Prasad (SDSU, Co-PI), Dr. Gregory Michna (SDSU, Co-PI)


A direct method-based guidance strategy for multirotors.

Status: Completed

Team: Kidus Guye (Graduate Student), Dr. Marco Ciarcià

Related publications:


Multirotor Aerial Applicator. (Senior Design Project)

Status: Completed

Team: Derek Dilts (Undergraduate Student), Daniel Ostraat (Undergraduate Student), Brennen Walley (Undergraduate Student), Darin Zomer (Undergraduate Student), Dr. Marco Ciarcià (SDSU, Co-advisor), Dr. Jeffrey Doom (SDSU, Co-advisor)

Abstract: The goal of this project is the realization of a GPS guided multirotor for aerial precision spot crop spraying of agricultural liquid products. The multirotor has a 3.8 l tank, it can perform flights of about 15 min with full tank and the total cost is about $1100 (for parts only). The main advantages of such system, over the traditional airplane dusting, are: efficient and accurate product application, low costs for localized areas, risk-free operations for the operator.

Multirotor Aerial Applicator