Maruthi Akella Elected Fellow of AIAA

February 4, 2022

photo of maruthi akella in ase lobbyProfessor Maruthi Akella of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The world’s largest aerospace engineering society, AIAA has been the torchbearer for professional leadership in the field for more than 80 years.

According to AIAA, Fellows are “persons of distinction in aeronautics or astronautics, who have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology thereof.” Each year, only one out of every 125 Associate Fellows is elected to the AIAA Fellow rank, making it one of the most prestigious recognitions in the aerospace field.

An expert in autonomous robotic systems and control theory, Akella was elected to the 2022 Fellow class “for sustained outstanding scholarship, leadership, and high-impact contributions in the field of aerospace guidance and control.”

Akella’s research contributions found several highly successful applications in the control of space systems, hypersonics, and vision-guided robotics. His research results have been recognized with a number of awards including the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, the American Astronautical Society’s (AAS) Dirk Brouwer Award and the Judith A. Resnik Space Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society. Akella is also a Fellow of both the IEEE and the AAS.

Akella is the founding director for UT Austin’s Center for Autonomous Air Mobility (CAAM) and he leads the Controls Group for Distributed and Uncertain Systems (C-DUS Group). His current research projects include algorithm development for learning and trust within autonomous systems; developing GPS-denied multi-agent mapping and inspection capabilities using aerial vehicles and ground rovers; creating visual navigation systems for space-based servicing, assembly, and manufacturing applications; generating high-quality trajectories for hypersonic glide vehicles; and advancing algorithms for swarm and fractionated systems. Alumni from the C-DUS Group have taken positions as university faculty members (including a student who recently won the NSF Career Award), national labs, and the aerospace private-sector.

More recently, in collaboration with the U.S. Army, Akella participated in a defense-in-depth experiment conducted in the downtown Austin region to detect and stop drone attacks upon urban areas.

Akella joins seven ASE/EM faculty members who are Fellows of the society, bringing the total number of AIAA Fellows in the department to eight. He will be formally recognized by AIAA at a Fellow induction ceremony in April of this year.