Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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Neelanga Thelasingha

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Neelanga Thelasingha is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Computer and Systems Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. He is working with Prof. Agung Julius on optimal control and motion planning in autonomous systems like unmanned aerial vehicles. He earned his MS in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2021 and his BSc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with first-class honors from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2017. He became interested in autonomous exploration planning through his undergraduate research. His recent work includes heuristic-based fast motion planning methods for UAVs. In addition, he currently collaborates with Army Research Labs in researching energy-aware motion planning for collaborative UAV and UGV teams. He believes that integrating intelligent decision-making and planning capabilities into VTOLs is a critical area that must be thoroughly explored in parallel with hardware-level improvements in aeromechanical systems. His overall goal is to push the boundaries of future VTOL systems by advancing research on intelligent autonomy in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

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