Faculty Advisor

Ciaraldi, Michael J.

Faculty Advisor

Looft, Fred J.


Development of autonomy in fly-by-wire aircraft has long been limited to multi-million dollar systems, or large remotely operated vehicles due to regulatory restrictions and the difficulty of designing a system around existing light aircraft. This report summarises the development of an experimental, optionally piloted aircraft with the capability of fully autonomous decisionmaking and controlled flight. Particular time is spent discussing the safety features of the mechanical and electrical systems, as well as a novel control system design for light aircraft autopilots. This phase of the project included successful independant ground tests of all electromechanical systems, and simulator tests of all autoflight software. The next phase of the project will include flight testing.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2017


Computer Science

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering