By Peter Murphy
Published December 17, 2021
Researchers in UB’s Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics (ISTL) won the “Best Tutorial” award at the 2021 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).
The tutorial, “Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) – Innovating Modeling & Simulation (M&S) to Revolutionize the Future of Transportation,” was developed by a team of faculty, staff, students and alumni associated with the Stephen Still ISTL. They included Panagiotis Ch. Anastasopoulos, PhD, associate professor, Stephen E. Still Chair of Transportation Engineering and director of the Stephen Still ISTL, Stephen Still, PhD, professor of practice, and Irina Benedyk, PhD, assistant professor Kevin Hulme, PhD, operations director, Rachel Lim, research support specialist, and Grigorios Fountas, PhD (’18), civil engineering alumnus.
I/ITSEC is one of the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training events, and had over 10,000 attendees, this year. The conference is sponsored by the National Training and Simulation Association, which promotes international and interdisciplinary cooperation within modeling and simulation, training, education, analysis and related fields. I/ITSEC also emphasizes themes related to defense and security.
“Advanced Air Mobility is an important integral part of the future of mobility, a future that may be much closer than many believe,” Anastasopoulos says. “Among the many accomplishments of the Institute, this award truly stands out because it comes in the Institute’s signature area of planning for AAM – an area in which the Stephen Still ISTL is one of the first few pioneers. Our group is elated with this recognition and looks forward to reaching new heights in this exciting and emerging field.”
According to Hulme, the tutorial had five specific learning objectives: Identify the current state-of-the-art with flying car technologies; summarize transportation challenges that mandate societal change and evolution; apply live-virtual-constructive fundamentals to enable sustenance and sustainability of flying car technologies; analyze timely case studies to assess associated technological and human factors impacts; and evaluate and forecast next steps to leverage modeling and simulation in this emergent domain of interest.
“We offered a high-level overview of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) or “flying cars” technologies, as a precursor to what could be a vital modality in the future of human transport,” says Hulme.
Approximately 40 teams submitted tutorials to be considered for this award. Twenty-three were selected to present at the conference, and the overall winner was selected based on the presentation, and Q&A session during the conference.
The tutorial references recent proposals submitted by members of the Stephen Still ISTL team and their students. Several peer-reviewed journal and conference papers submitted by Anastasopoulos, Benedyk, Still and ISTL master’s student Shahriar Ahmed are incorporated into the tutorial. They presented the tutorial to nearly 100 participants including representatives from the US military, government, and members of industry and academia.
The team began preparing for this presentation in early 2020. Although a massive effort, Hulme says the impact of this award is significant.
“AAM is such a bleeding edge concept. It’s very near to its initial technology trigger, and it will likely be a fundable area of extreme interest in the next decade, and beyond,” Hulme says. “To make our mark this way, so early in the design, development, validation and deployment of these technologies serves as a bold statement for the Stephen Still ISTL. We are positioning ourselves as major players in this emerging and technologically disruptive field.”