M-Air is a 10,000 sq ft, four-story, netted scientific facility that enables the study of autonomy and collaborative robotics in the “wild”, with emphasis on dealing with the full range of Michigan weather, -30C to 38C, with rain, sleet, wind, and snow.
This space enables the evaluation of prototype hardware and algorithms in a safe manner, thereby encouraging risk-taking for rapid exploration of ideas. M-Air accelerates the pursuit of aggressive educational and research flight projects that involve high risk of fly-away or loss-of-control—and in realistic wind, lighting and sensor conditions. It allows researchers to better understand operational risks associated with real-world outdoor flights with no real risk to people or other aircraft outside the net.
M-Air is located on UM’s College of Engineering, directly across the street from the Aerospace Department, University of Michigan Wind Tunnels, and the recently completed Robotics Building.
M-Air infrastructure includes an adjacent covered pavilion for UAV staging, command and control, and data collection, and is equipped with power and tied into UM’s data infrastructure. M-Air is equipped with a dense array of all-weather, high resolution motion capture cameras.
M-Air is used by our research groups, student teams, and in our robotics courses, and allows Michigan to quickly move ideas from laptop and lab bench to first flight.