Available by Appointment through email for Spring and Summer 2023
Dynamic systems, control system design; guidance, dynamics, control, and autonomy of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Stanford University, Stanford, California
Ph.D. Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Minor in Electrical Engineering
Dissertation: Modeling of Underwater Manipulator Hydrodynamics with Application to the Coordinated Control of an Arm/Vehicle System
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
MS Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Thesis: Application of Optimization and Decomposition Methods to Obtain Optimal Transient Response in the Integrated Design of Control Systems and Actuators
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering, magna cum laude
2007 to present, Professor
2007 to 2013, Department Chair
2001 to 2007, Associate Professor
1995 to 2001, Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University.
Summers 1999 and 2000
Visiting Scientist. Air Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory
Investigated issues in the cooperative control of unmanned air vehicles. Developed strategies for the coordination of rendezvous of multiple unmanned air vehicles.
1989 to 1995
Research Assistant. Aerospace Robotics Laboratory, Stanford University.
Researched issues related to control system design for underwater vehicles and manipulators. Research focused on understanding the fundamental hydrodynamics pertinent to underwater manipulation, developing real-time hydrodynamic models, and developing control methods for precise, high-speed underwater manipulation from a hovering vehicle platform.
Summers 1990 to 1994
Engineering Intern. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Developed a sensor to measure tension forces in the tether of an underwater remotely operated vehicle during operation. Participated in the development, fabrication and testing of a research test bed underwater vehicle.
1987 to 1989
Mechanical Engineer. Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah.
Involved in modeling and simulation of hydraulic and electromechanical actuation systems, actuator and servo systems development, force transducer design, and control of teleoperation systems.
1986 to 1987
Research Assistant. Engineering Design Methods Laboratory, Brigham Young University.
Performed research in applying optimization and decomposition methods to the simultaneous design of actuators and control systems.
Beach, Jason W.
Development of Tailsitter Hover Estimation and Control MS Thesis, Brigham Young University, February 2014
Klaus, Robert A.
Development of a Sense and Avoid System for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems MS Thesis, Brigham Young University, August 2013
Nichols, Joseph W.
Vision-based Guidance for Air-to-Air Tracking and Rendezvous of Unmanned Aircraft Systems PhD Dissertation, Brigham Young University, August 2013
Leishman, Robert C.
A Vision-based Relative Navigation Approach for Autonomous Multirotor Aircraft PhD Dissertation, Brigham Young University, April 2013
Millar, Brett W.
Multi-resolution Obstacle Mapping with Rapidly-exploring Random Tree Path Planning for Unmanned Air Vehicles MS Thesis, Brigham Young University, June 2011
Bishop, Jacob L.
Search Pattern Generation and Path Management for Search Over Rough Terrain with a Small UAV MS Thesis, Brigham Young University, December 2010
Millet, P. Travis
Vision-based Precision Landing of a Tailsitter UAV MS Thesis, April 2010
Hall, James K.
Attitude Estimation and Maneuvering for Autonomous Obstacle Avoidance by Miniature Air Vehicles PhD Dissertation, April 2009
Johnson, Neil G.
Vision-assisted Control of a Hovering Air Vehicle in an Indoor Setting MS Thesis, August 2008
Messenger, Robert K.
Integrated Piezoresistive Sensing for Feedback Control of Compliant MEMS PhD Dissertation, December 2007
Knoebel, Nathan B.
Adaptive Quaternion Control of a Miniature Tailsitter UAV MS Thesis, December 2007
Jackson, Joseph A.
Panoramic Video for Efficient Ground Surveillance from Small Unmanned Air Vehicles MS Thesis, August 2007
Hansen, Stephen R.
Applications of Search Theory to Coordinated Searching by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles MS Thesis, April 2007
Barber, D. Blake Accurate Target Geolocation and Vision-based Landing with Application to Search and Engage Missions for Miniature Air Vehicles MS Thesis, April 2007
Anderson, Jeffrey D.
Methods and Metrics for Human Control of Multi-robot Teams MS Thesis, December 2006
Improved State Estimation for Miniature Air Vehicles MS Thesis, December 2006
Human Interfaces for Cooperative Control of Multiple Vehicle Systems MS Thesis, April 2006
Griffiths, Stephen R.
Remote Terrain Navigation for Unmanned Air Vehicles MS Thesis, April 2006
Hakala, Tim T.
Settling-time Improvements in Positioning Machines Subject to Nonlinear Friction Using Adaptive Impulse Control PhD Dissertation, December 2005
Nelson, Derek R.
Cooperative Control of Miniature Air Vehicles MS Thesis, December 2005
Redding, Joshua D.
Vision-based Target Localization from a Small, Fixed-wing Unmanned Air Vehicle MS Thesis, August 2005
Rowley, Dale D.
Real-time Evaluation of Vision-based Navigation for Autonomous Landing of a Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in a Non-cooperative Environment MS Thesis, April 2005
Messenger, Robert K.Modeling and Control of Surface Micromachined Thermal Actuators MS Thesis, August 2004
Walker, David H.
Coordinated UAV-Target Assignment Using Distributed Calculation of Target-Task Tours MS Thesis, April 2004
Howlett, Jason K.
Path Planning for Sensing Multiple Targets from an Aircraft MS Thesis, December 2002
Vest, Jason D.
The Effects of Communication and Sensor Latency on the Formation Control of Multiple Vehicles MS Thesis, June 2002
Lott, Christian D.
Electrothermal Modeling of a Surface Micromachined Linear Displacement Microactuator MS Thesis, June 2001
Judd, Kevin B.
Trajectory Planning Strategies for Unmanned Air Vehicles MS Thesis, June 2001
Bailey, Christopher A.
Fuel Saving Schemes for Separated Spacecraft Flying in Formation
MS Thesis, December 1999
Abbott, Richard D.
Experimental Validation of a Synthesis Technique for Optimal Control of Nonlinear Systems MS Thesis, April 1999
Gilbert, Douglas R.
The Repeatability Bound of an Impulsive Position Control System Subject to Frictional Variation MS Thesis, December 1998
Nichols, J., Sun, L., Beard, R., and McLain, T. Aerial Rendezvous of Small Unmanned Aircraft Using a Passive Towed Cable System, AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 1131-1142, DOI 10.2514/1.62220, 2014.
Leishman, R., Macdonald, J., Beard, R., and McLain, T. Quadrotors and Accelerometers: State Estimation with an Improved Dynamic Model, IEEE Control Systems, vol.34, no.1, pp. 28-41, February 2014.
Leishman, R., McLain, T., and Beard, R. Relative Navigation Approach for Vision-based Aerial GPS-denied Navigation, Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, vol. 74, no. 1-2, pp. 97-111, April 2014.
Macdonald, J., Leishman, R., Beard, R. and McLain, T. Analysis of an Improved IMU-based Observer for Multirotor Helicopters, Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, DOI 10.1007/s10846-013-9835-5, May 2013.
Nichols, J. and McLain, T. A Nonlinear Guidance Law for Visual Pursuit of a Cooperative Aerial Target in Wind, International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 127-144, June 2013.
Beard, R. and McLain T. Small Unmanned Aircraft: Theory and Practice, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2012.
Messenger R., Aten, Q., McLain, T., and Howell, L. Piezoresistive Feedback Control of a MEMS Thermal Actuator, Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol 18, no. 6, pp. 1267-1278, 2009.
Ostler, J., Bowman, J., Snyder, D., and McLain, T. Performance Flight Testing of Small Electric Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 155-171, September 2009.
Barber, B., McLain, T., and Edwards, B. Vision-Based Landing of Fixed-Wing Miniature Air Vehicles, AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 207-226, March 2009.
Johns, G., Howell, L., Jensen, B., and McLain, T., A Model for Predicting the Piezoresistive Effect in Microflexures Experienceing Bending and Tension Loads, Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 226-235, February 2008.
Waterfall, T., Johns, G., Messenger, R., Jensen, B., McLain, T., and Howell, L. Observations of Piezoresistivity for Polysilicon in Bending that are Unexplained by Linear Models, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, vol. 141, pp. 610-618, February 2008.
Nelson, D., McLain, T., and Beard, R. Experiments in Cooperative Timing for Miniature Air Vehicles, AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, vol. 4, no. 8, pp. 956-967, August 2007.
Nelson, D., Barber, B., McLain, T., and Beard, R. Vector Field Path Following for Miniature Air Vehicles, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 519-529, June 2007.
Barber, D., Griffiths, S., McLain, T., and Beard, R. Autonomous Landing of Miniature Aerial Vehicles, AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 770-784, May 2007. Invited submission.
Barber, D., Redding, J., McLain, T., Beard, R., and Taylor, C. Vision-based Target Geo-location Using a Fixed-wing Miniature Air Vehicle, Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 361-382, December 2006.
Griffiths, S., Saunders, J., Curtis, A., Barber, B., McLain, T., and Beard, R. Obstacle and Terrain Avoidance for Miniature Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Special Issue on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Enabling Technologies & Roadmap for Autonomy, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 34-43, September 2006. Invited submission.
Knoebel, N., Osborne, S., Snyder, D., McLain, T., Beard, R., and Eldredge, A. Preliminary Modeling, Control, and Trajectory Design for Miniature Autonomous Tailsitters, Proceedings of the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, AIAA-2006-6713, August 2006, Keystone, Colorado.
Beard, R., McLain, T., Kingston, D. Nelson, D., and Johanson, D. Decentralized Cooperative Aerial Surveillance Using Fixed-Wing Miniature UAVs, Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 94, no. 7, pp. 1306-1323, July 2006. Invited submission.
Casbeer, D., Kingston, D., Beard, R., McLain, T., Li, S., and Mehra, R. Forest Fire Surveillance Using a Team of Small Unmanned Air Vehicles, Special Issue on Cooperative Control Approaches for Multiple Mobile Robots for the International Journal of Systems Science, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 351-360, May 2006. Invited submission.
Anderson, J., Howell, L., Wittwer, J., and McLain, T. Piezoresistive Sensing of Bistable Micromechanism State, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, vol. 16, pp. 943-950, May 2006.
Howlett, J., McLain, T., and Goodrich, M. Learning Real-Time A* Path Planner for Unmanned Air Vehicle Target Sensing. AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 108-122, March 2006.
Anderson, E., Beard, R., and McLain, T. Real-time Dynamic Trajectory Smoothing for Unmanned Air Vehicles, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 471-477, May, 2005.
Beard, R., Kingston, D., Quigley, M., Snyder, D., Christiansen, R., Johnson, W., McLain, T., and Goodrich, M. Autonomous Vehicle Technologies for Small Fixed-wing UAVs, Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 92-108, January, 2005.
McLain, T. and Beard, R. Coordination Variables, Coordination Functions, and Cooperative Timing Missions, AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 150-161, January-February 2005.
MeEn 363, Elementary Instrumentation
MeEn 335, System Dynamics
MeEn 431, Control System Design
MeEn 633, Digital Controls
MeEn 634, Flight Dynamics and Control
MeEn 733, Linear System Theory
MeEn 475/476, Integrated Product and Process Engineering, Coach