The University of Maryland (UMD) MATRIX Lab has a short course on aerial autonomy in collaboration with the UMD UAS Research and Operations Center (UROC). Participants learn about verification and validation, and get the opportunity to build and fly drones. This is the first of several cutting-edge technology short courses we plan to offer at the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM) SMART Building.

Course highlights:

  • Held July 10-14, 2023 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the USMSM SMART Building
  • Aerial autonomy
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Building and flying drones

Headshot of Dr. Mumu XuWho is the instructor?

"How to Build, Fly, and Verify Autonomous Aerial Systems" is taught in the USMSM SMART Building by UMD faculty member Dr. Mumu Xu. Dr. Xu is an associate professor with a joint appointment in Aerospace Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research. The MATRIX Lab hosts the course with the support of experts from UROC.

Who is this course for?

This course has been designed for professionals and students with a software background, but new to UAS-specific-hardware and software. Both students and working professionals can apply to take the course. Upon successfully finishing, participants will earn a certificate of completion. The course also is eligible for Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.

What will participants learn?

Dr. Xu will explain the state of artificial intelligence and machine learning for autonomous systems. UROC experts will discuss the history, convention, and practical use of UAS in a research or commercial setting. They also will share lessons learned from past projects and operations. The course also will cover verification and validation for autonomous systems with learning-enabled components, and how they impact airworthiness.

What will participants do?

Participants will be able to build drones in the MATRIX Lab's Project Assembly Area, and fly them in the Open Air-Land Lab.

What will participants be provided?

Refreshments and lunch are provided each day of the course. Vegan and vegetarian options are available. Participants will also be able to attend a networking event to be held after the last lecture. Refreshments and food will be provided at no cost to participants.

5 day course costs $1,000. Space is limited to 20 participants.

Local lodging options

Distance from USMSM campus indicated

Regional points of attraction

Distance from USMSM campus indicated

The SMART Building and MATRIX Lab are a 1.5 hour drive south of the University of Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, and a 2 hour drive away from Baltimore.

The building and lab are the southern anchor of the Maryland Autonomy Corridor, which extends through central Maryland. This region is home to government agencies, academic institutions, and industry partners focused on autonomy and uncrewed systems. These partnerships aim to strengthen research, education, and economic development in the area. Read how the partnerships are strengthening Maryland.


The Maryland Autonomy Corridor map was created by University of Maryland Graphic Art Designer Matt Laumann and originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Engineering at Maryland (pp. 8-9). Click picture to view it fullscreen.

Maryland Autonomy Corridor Map featuring SMART Building, MATRIX Lab, University of Maryland, DC, and Annapolis