Chung Honored with Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research


AE Assistant Prof. Soon-Jo Chung
AE Assistant Prof. Soon-Jo Chung
Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Assistant Prof. Soon-Jo Chung, an expert in estimation and control of autonomous aerospace vehicles, is a 2014 winner of the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.

“It is expected that, within a couple of decades, many thousands of these autonomous vehicles will fly all over the United States, with applications as diverse as transportation, weather and environment monitoring, agricultural engineering, communication, and emergency response,” said AE Department Head Philippe Geubelle, who nominated Chung.

Among the projects Chung has been developing in AE have been:

  • robotic birds of prey to chase away from airfields flocks of real birds that can get in the paths of ascending and descending planes
  • dynamics and control of robotic bat for engineered flapping flight and control of a robotic bird to perform a soft landing, i.e., perching on a human hand
  • computer-vision based navigation and filtering algorithms for a GPS-denied environment
  • control and guidance of swarms of autonomous flying spacecraft and unmanned aerial vehicles

Since his arrival at Illinois in 2009, Chung and his students have published 16 full-length papers in prestigious journals including the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Automatica, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Transactions on Automatic Control, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics.

Chung’s work has attracted substantial funding from sources including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Army Research Office (ARO), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Chung’s honors have included a 2013 NSF Career Award and a 2008 AFOSR Young Investigator Award. He also is a 2014 Beckman Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.