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


  • Research

    • Dynamics and control
    • Autonomous aerial systems
    • Applied aerodynamics

    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.

  • Professional Affiliations

    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • Society of Automotive Engineers
    • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
    • American Society of Testing and Materials

  • Publications

  • 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

  • Awards & 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

  • Professional Leadership

    • Deputy Technical Chair, AIAA SciTech Conference, Intelligent Systems, 2016
    • Technical Chair, AIAA SciTech Conference, Intelligent Systems, 2015
    • Technical Chair, AIAA SciTech Conference, Intelligent Systems, 2014
    • Technical Chair, AIAA Infotech@Aerospace, Unmanned Systems Applications, 2013
    • Member, AIAA Information Systems Technical Committee
    • Technical Co-Chair, Information Systems 50th and 51st Aerospace Sciences Meetings, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • Member, Crossfield Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award Committee
    • Chair, Cloud Fund (aviation philanthropy foundation)