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text - land, sea, air, and space

illustration - autonomous drone, boat, and submarine
Illustration by Tavis Coburn.

GEORGIA TECH ADVANCES AUTONOMOUS MACHINES AND SMALL SPACECRAFT

Georgia Tech is advancing automation on the land, sea, and air, while developing smaller and less expensive spacecraft to track space debris and gather information about other planets and their moons. Our researchers are also connecting the dots for law enforcement, justice, and other agencies — and trying to understand how complex chemistry developed to support life on the early Earth. This issue of Research Horizons shows the broad impact our faculty members and students are having on land, sea, air, and space.

Our cover story explores the many ways in which we’re advancing autonomous machines, making them smarter and more capable — from a submersible able to explore the icy waters of Antarctica, to new classes of boats and air vehicles that may help humans avoid dull, dirty, and dangerous missions. With sponsors such as the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and many others, we’re developing the next generation of vehicles able to operate without human operators.

Also in this issue, you will learn about Georgia Tech’s exciting work on spacecraft as small as a few kilograms that are helping drive down the cost of space exploration, both in Earth orbit and in missions beyond our planet. And you’ll also read about how researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have helped law enforcement, justice, and homeland security agencies securely share data to help keep us safe.

Finally, at the smallest of size scales, you’ll see how we’re leading a group of scientists exploring how the complex chemistry necessary to support life developed over time — and how we might make today’s chemical production more sustainable by using simple processes such as wet-dry cycles that may have taken place on the early Earth.

Georgia Tech fuels an impressive innovation ecosystem that facilitates transformative opportunities, strengthens collaborative partnerships, and maximizes the economic and societal impact of the Institute’s research.

As you read this issue of Research Horizons, you’ll see how we’re leveraging these collaborative partnerships to create game-changing solutions to society’s most challenging problems. We truly are creating the next generation of autonomous vehicles, small spacecraft, chemical processes, and secure information sharing systems.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Enjoy the issue!

Steve Cross

Executive Vice President for Research
December 2015
 

Steve Cross

Steve Cross is Georgia Tech’s executive vice president for research.

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Georgia Tech is home to more than 2,500 faculty members who conduct scientific and engineering research in hundreds of different research areas.

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