Kevin Kochersberger

Associate Professor

(540) 231-5589
119 Randolph Hall – 0710
460 Old Turner Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1994
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1984
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1983

119 Randolph Hall 0238 Marker-48


  • Professional History

    • 2011 – present, Virginia Tech, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor
    • 2006 – 2011, Virginia Tech, Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, Research Associate Professor
    • 2000 – 2006, Rochester Institute of Technology, Associate Professor

  • Research Areas of Expertise

    • Dynamics and control
    • Autonomous aerial systems
    • Applied aerodynamics

  • Awards and Honors

    • 2009 AIAA Associate Fellow
    • AIAA 2004 – 2010 Distinguished Lecture Program Participant
    • Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Educator Award, 2004
    • Pilot of the Reproduction Wright Flyer, Centennial of Flight Celebration, Kitty Hawk, NC, December 17, 2003
    • Aviation Week and Space Technology Aerospace Laureate, 2003
    • Soaring Society of America, Paul E. Tuntland Historical Award, 2003
    • Society of Automotive Engineers Teetor Educational Award, 1998

  • Research Interests

    Unmanned Aerial Sensing and Sampling

    Using an autonomous helicopter that weighs 200 lbs, the lab is designing and building imaging and sensing payloads to analyze blast areas. Mission level architecture includes operator-in-the-loop control of the aircraft and a ground robotic system designed to collect samples via tether deployment from the helicopter. Payloads include stereo and mono vision systems, a radiation detector, and a ground robotic sampler. Research areas are focused in stereo and monofocal 3-D mapping methods, robotic control, and system design and integration. Human factors are an interest in the operation of complex autonomous systems where mission time is critical.

    Morphing Wing Aircraft Design

    The use of macro fiber composite actuators for conformal control of wings and control surfaces is opening up new possibilities in air vehicle design. In particular, these actuators show low drag and high lift performance in addition to higher bandwidth response than what is possible with conventional servo-driven actuators. Applications of this technology include morphing wing aircraft and active flow control in ducts. I am interested in pursuing tailored aero structures that are designed to complement smart material function, reducing the weight of airframes and increasing maneuvering agility.

    Novel Aerial Robotic Applications

    We are exploring novel heterogeneous robotic sensing and control strategies for helicopter, fixed wing and ground robotic systems. Examples include use of aerial imagery for ground robotic path planning, object classification using aerial and ground-based imaging, and use of smartphone technology for sensing and imaging.