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 soon to be completed 134k sq ft 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.