New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

A Bird and a Plane--Courant Institute Receives Office of Naval Research Grant to Develop Crow-Sized Autonomous Plane

April 20, 2011
362

New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences has received a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop a bird-sized, self-flying plane that could navigate through both forests and urban environments.

The Courant Institute shares the $4.5 million, 5-year grant with MIT, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Harvard University.

“The plane would be about the size of a crow, and, like a bird, would use vision to navigate, but it would use orientable propellers and not flap its wings,” explained Yann LeCun, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute.

The work will rely, in part, on a technology that emulates the visual system of animals called Convolutional Networks, which mimics the neural network in the mammalian visual cortex and can be trained to quickly interpret the world around it. The vision system will run on a new type of computer chip that uses a “dataflow” architecture. Dubbed NeuFlow, the new chip will enable Convolutional Networks and other computer perception algorithms to run on very small and lightweight devices hundreds of times faster than a conventional computer.

“The NeuFlow hardware is a key element of this project, as it is the only vision architecture that is powerful enough and compact enough to do the job,” said LeCun, who is collaborating with Yale University researcher Eugenio Culurciello and his team on the NeuFlow project.

The ONR grant brings together seven researchers from diverse fields that include machine learning, computer vision, planning and control, aerodynamics, computational neuroscience, and the study of bird flight. Besides LeCun, team members include: J. Andrew Bagnell (CMU), Andrew Biewener (Harvard), Emilio Frazzoli (MIT), William Freeman (MIT), Martial Hebert (CMU), David Lentink (Wageningen University), and Russ Tedrake (MIT).

Under a previously awarded National Science Foundation grant, LeCun and his colleagues at Stanford University, MIT, and the University of California, Berkeley are working to develop new computational models of how the visual system learns to recognize objects. The project’s researchers hope to uncover new mechanisms that could explain the learning process in neural circuits.

 

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Research, Arts and Science, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

A Bird and a Plane--Courant Institute Receives Grant to Develop Crow-Sized Autonomous Plane

NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences has received a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to develop a bird-sized, self-flying plane that could navigate through both forests and urban environments. The Courant Institute shares the $4.5 million, 5-year grant with MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Harvard University. Image courtesy of Josh Presseisen.


Search News



NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer