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Boeing funds autonomous aerial vehicle lab at Stanford

Boeing is contributing $2.5 million to Stanford University for the creation of a facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles.

Announced on Oct. 7, the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory — part of the California university’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics — features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area.

“We’re pleased to contribute to Stanford’s mission of educating lifelong learners, entrepreneurs, and leaders,” stated Charles Toups, vice president and general manager of the Disruptive Computing & Networks organization at Boeing.

The Flight & Autonomy Lab is the latest investment by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. Boeing is also a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics, the inaugural class of which will graduate next year.

Boeing also has funded more than $26 million in collaborative R&D projects at Stanford since 2003. The company said these projects span diverse fields of study, including aerodynamic analysis and optimization using advanced computational methods, materials and sensors, machine learning, and autonomy.

In a press release, Charbel Farhat, the Vivian Church Hoff professor of Aircraft Structures and chairman of Stanford’s Aero/Astro department, expressed gratitude for Boeing’s contributions, saying that the company’s support helps Stanford “continue to educate the next generation of aero- and astronautic engineers and conduct the kind of groundbreaking research for which Stanford is known.”

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