Research & Innovation

Pochiraju and Englot Receive $1.4M to Help Develop a New Class of Air-Taxi and Underwater Vehicles

Their project contributes to optimal, computationally efficient, and scalable design of complex engineering systems

Kishore Pochiraju and Brendan Englot

PI Kishore Pochiraju, associate dean for undergraduate studies; and co-PI Brendan Englot, associate professor—both in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science—recently received a grant of $1,439,281 from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency): Information Innovation Office for their project “AIMED: Artificial Intelligence Managed Exploration of Designs.”

The project addresses numerous challenges faced by designers of complex systems like planes, rockets, ships, and automobiles. In order to bring a new design to life, these designers must constantly collaborate, prioritize, negotiate, and innovate. AIMED is a team project of three partners (Perspecta Labs, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Princeton University) that will develop artificial intelligence (AI)-based methodologies that work together with human designers. With the help of AI, the team will enable designers to compose new and novel system designs, which may otherwise remain hidden and cannot be uncovered by human efforts alone.

The solutions are being tested on two large-scale systems: an air taxi—that is, a flying vehicle for urban transportation; and an underwater vehicle that is capable of long-distance navigation in extreme environments. Teams funded under this project, including Pochiraju and Englot’s, will compete in periodic hackathons to test and qualify their tools while helping to develop a new class of air-taxi and underwater vehicles.

While current computer tools automate menial tasks and do not assist designers on their creative side, the new breed of design tools being developed in this project will allow designers to quickly compose elements of the design together and explore concepts and ideas.

 Learn more about mechanical engineering at Stevens: