Dr Palmer is a member of the Aerospace Division of the Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group in Melbourne, Australia. Over the past decade, her work has focussed on unmanned aircraft, including projects on hybrid-propulsion and power-management technologies for small surveillance aircraft and flapping-wing flight. Currently, Dr Palmer is engaged with academic and DST collaborators in the development of autonomous aircraft for urban missions, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, and emergency response. Prior to immigrating to Australia from the US, she was employed at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space in Sunnyvale, California, where her work involved analyses of missile systems and test failures. She earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, with a thesis on the demonstration of advanced laser-based diagnostic techniques for hypersonic flows.
Dr Palmer’s presentation is entitled: The birds and the bees and the MAVs.
Nature can provide the inspiration for advances in aircraft technology; and in this talk, several features of biological flyers that may significantly benefit small autonomous aircraft are examined. These include flapping-wing micro air vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, and rotorcraft, each of which can utilise intelligent control techniques exploited by insects, birds, and bats, such as swarming, gust-response, and energy-harvesting strategies.