Autonomy, Control, Cyber-Physical Systems Research

Students collaborating on a project


Extreme weather events, terrorism, pandemics, and failures of essential transportation and communication networks all threaten our communities. These threats pose both long- and short-term challenges to which engineered autonomous systems are increasingly demonstrated to give optimal solutions, in the form of drones or robots assisting in disaster assessment and relief, or of cyber-physical systems designed to enhance or improve human mobility or facilitate safer, more efficient industrial processes and manufacturing. These areas are the focus of autonomy research at Cooper.


Autonomy and control, together with machine learning and intelligence, is the fastest growing area of research in the School of Engineering. Cooper faculty are taking a broad, interdisciplinary view, working together with architects and artists, to better understand the urban problems that autonomy and control can solve, and in designing and developing entirely new solutions.  Among these are: 

  • Autonomous transportation systems that improve the reliability, efficiency, and safety of urban life
  • Lightweight, efficient drones and drone networks for information gathering and disaster relief
  • Super-efficient autonomous ocean vehicles for climate and weather monitoring, pollutant tracking and rescue
  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.