Research interests of Dr. Youmin Zhang, Associate Professor at the Concordia University's Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering spin around avionics, guidance, navigation and flight control of unmanned aerial vehicles. And acquiring Quanser's Qball-X4, an unmanned aerial vehicle system with the OptiTrack camera system and a ground station PC, allowed Dr. Zhang to effectively continue his research in these areas. But Dr. Zhang is also passionate about teaching and sharing the latest research results with his students. With the support of his department, he introduced his undergraduate and graduate students to this cutting-edge technology.
In the fall of 2010, students enrolled in the Flight Control Systems Course were able to use the Qball-X4 for the first time. The Qball system was also used in a newly offered graduate course Fault Diagnosis and Fault Tolerant Control Systems. Concordia University thus became the first academic institution in the world to use such a cutting-edge physical UAV system to teach a flight control course. Dr. Zhang brought his latest research results to the classroom and gave students a chance to get hands-on experience with the unmanned aerial technology. Students could implement a control algorithm they designed on a real unmanned aerial vehicle and test it - something they did not have the chance to do before.
UVS Lab at Concordia University. Image courtesy of Dr. Youmin Zhang.