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Release: Jan. 14, 2003

UI receives $30,000 gift from Rockwell Collins

The University of Iowa College of Engineering has received a $30,000 gift from Rockwell Collins of Cedar Rapids to expand research at the Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) in the Center for Computer Aided Design. The gift will provide on-site workspace for Rockwell Collins personnel to collaborate with OPL personnel in researching synthetic vision, situation awareness and other pilot-related issues -- all with the goal of enhancing aviation safety and effectiveness.

Tom Schnell, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and OPL director, says that the OPL has conducted collaborative work on synthetic vision information systems (SVIS) carried out by Rockwell Collins and UI researchers. Studies done with Rockwell Collins include improving aircraft instrument flight by providing synthetic and sensor-enhanced terrain images and improved guidance to pilots. Schnell, who is a commercial pilot and aviation enthusiast, adds that a similar SVIS collaboration already is underway with researchers from NASA Langley in Virginia, the U.S. Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California and Air Force Research Labs at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

"This gift will help develop expertise on how best to design aircraft instrument displays, as well as research other aspects of human factors and human-centered design. One of the most important aspects is that it will include undergraduate and graduate students, post doctoral researchers and staff research engineers," he says.

Schnell acknowledged the following Rockwell Collins personnel: Raj L Aggarwal, vice president, Advanced Technology Center; John R. Weyrauch, information technologies director; and Tim Etherington, Arlen E. Breiholz, Peter Hibson, Tom L. Vogel and Alex Postnikov, all of the Situation Awareness Systems group.