Faculty Directory

Paley, Derek A.

Paley, Derek A.

Willis H. Young Jr. Professor of Aerospace Engineering Education
Director, Maryland Robotics Center
Aerospace Engineering
The Institute for Systems Research
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Maryland Robotics Center
3150 Glenn L. Martin Hall

Derek A. Paley is Director of the Maryland Robotics Center and Willis H. Young Jr. Professor of Aerospace Engineering Education in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. He is the founding director of the UMD Collective Dynamics and Control Laboratory and the UMD Autonomous Micro Air Vehicle Team. Paley is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a member of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, the Maryland Robotics Center, the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, the Burgers Program for Fluid Dynamics, the Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation Program, the Brain and Behavior Initiative, and the Maryland Transportation Institute. Paley received the B.S. degree in Applied Physics from Yale University in 1997 and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 2007. He is the recipient of the Yale University Henry Prentiss Becton Prize for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science in 1997, the Princeton University Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship in 2006, the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2010, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2012, the University of Maryland E. Robert Kent Teaching Award for Junior Faculty in 2014, and the AIAA National Capital Section Engineer of the Year in 2015. Paley was a Fellow in the 2013–2014 Office of Naval Research Sabbatical Fellowship Program, a Fellow in the 2019–2020 UMD ADVANCE Leadership Fellows Program, and has been selected as a 2020-2021 UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher. Paley has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed publications including one textbook: Engineering Dynamics (Princeton University Press, 2011). He teaches introductory dynamics, advanced dynamics, aircraft flight dynamics and control, and nonlinear control. Paley’s research interests are in the area of dynamics and control, including cooperative control of autonomous vehicles, adaptive sampling with mobile networks, spatial modeling of biological groups, and bioinspired robotics. His research is based on support by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. Paley is Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He serves as Associate Editor of AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics and IEEE Control Systems Magazine.

  • Dynamics, estimation, and control: Cooperative control of autonomous vehicles
  • Mobile sensor networks: Adaptive sampling of spatiotemporal processes
  • Biocomplexity and bioinspiration: Quantitative modeling of animal groups and behavior

Engineering Robotic Starfish

Echinoderm-inspired robots could perform many difficult, dangerous tasks.

MRC Researchers to Present 16 Papers at ICRA 2020

International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2020 will be held online from May 31st to August 31st. MRC researchers will be presenting 16 papers at this conference.  

UMD names Derek Paley as a 2020–2021 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

The program recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement along with equally outstanding accomplishments as teachers.

Two Clark School teams take top spots in VFS micro air vehicle competition

The electric-powered, vertical take-off and landing, micro air vehicle competition encourages student interest in autonomous/unmanned aircraft technology and small air vehicle design and fabrication.

Clark School Engineers 3D Print Protective Face Shields

Clark School faculty and additive manufacturing experts are working to 3D print protective face shields in response to critical PPE shortages.

How to steer a fish-inspired robot

Paley and students develop a state-feedback control law to allow the autonomous robot to demonstrate 'pure pursuit.'

A cooperative control algorithm for robotic search and rescue

The algorithm can guide a team of autonomous quadrotors to simultaneously build an occupancy graph of an uncertain environment and detect a single target moving on this graph.

UMD's Paley Wins Grant for Micromobility Study

Quantitative research will help better assess risks and benefits, while providing a foundation for planning.

Student autonomous drone racing team takes 2nd place at IROS

'TurboTerps' flew their drone autonomously through a set of gates, completing 14 runs in 4:42.

Derek Paley named Maryland Robotics Center director

Paley's term will begin July 1, 2019.

Clark School student teams sweep MAV competition

FIRE freshmen, AE undergrads and MEng Robotics students take first place in both categories at VFS Micro Air Vehicle Student Challenge.

Maryland Robotics Center Demonstrates Robots at Maryland Day 2019

Maryland Robotics Center Demos on Maryland Day 2019

Maryland Robotics Center launches a new postdoctoral fellowship program

The program will foster multidisciplinary collaborations among Maryland Robotics Center faculty.

Bioinspired robotics REU students present final projects

The REU was led by Hugh Bruck and Sarah Bergbreiter, along with Clark School faculty and graduate student mentors.

Inspired by Nature: Autonomous Underwater Robotics

Clark School Prof. Derek Paley wants autonomous underwater vehicles to have the same capabilities as fish.

Derek Paley interviewed for WYPR's 'On the Record'

Paley talks about how understanding the fluid movements of fish can help improve underwater vehicles.

MRC faculty hosting REU summer program in bioinspired robotics

Ten undergraduate students from throughout the US are conducting research under the guidance of MRC faculty.

Paley, Abshire, Martins promoted to full Professor by UMD President Wallace Loh

The faculty members' new rank will become effective on July 1.

Synchronized swimming: How startled fish shoals effectively evade danger

Understanding response dynamics of startled fish reveals how orientation within the group effects escape chances, may offer insights into emergency response planning.

Paley presents at NAE 2016 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Three Clark School faculty attend NAE 2016 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

Maryland Robotics Center demonstrates robots at Maryland Day 2016

Visitors could interact with a wide variety of robots, and learn how they were made and programmed.

Alumnus Xiaobo Tan promoted to full professor at Michigan State

Tan earned a 2002 Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland.

Derek Paley is AIAA National Capital Section's Engineer of the Year

Award given for Paley's work in collective behavior in robotic and natural systems.

Maryland Robotics Center presents demonstrations at Maryland Day

Visitors meet bio-inspired, miniature, networked, underwater robots, and more.

Paley Awarded 2014 E. Robert Kent Teaching Award for Junior Faculty

Paley to receive 2014 E. Robert Kent Teaching Award during Clark School Winter Commencement.

UMD President Loh hosts robotics demonstrations at University House

Maryland Robotics Center shows a variety of robotic platforms.

Alum Xiaobo Tan developing robotic fish to 'stalk' real fish in the Great Lakes

The MSU professor's fish will track the movements of lake trout, walleye and lake sturgeon.

Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU

Research ranged from robotic skin to leg designs, inertial tail actuators, and more.

Robotic fish research profiled in Baltimore Sun

Derek Paley, Sean Humbert and alumnus Xiaobo Tan are collaborators on the project.

Paley Awarded Willis H. Young Jr. Faculty Fellowship

Professor receives three-year fellowship and is named Willis H. Young Jr.  Professor of Aerospace Engineering Education.

Derek Paley wins PECASE Award

ISR/AE faculty member has research interests in dynamics and control.

Sarah Bergbreiter wins PECASE Award

ISR/ME faculty member specializes in microrobotics.

Engineering Dynamics textbook by Paley, Kasdin in use at top schools

The textbook introduces undergraduate students to engineering dynamics with an accessible, comprehensive and innovative approach.

UAE students, Northrop Grumman engineers tour robotics laboratories

Visitors were in town for the annual AUVSI conference.

REU in Miniature Robotics holds final project symposium

Nine projects range from wings for MAVs to vision sensors for small robots to small grasping hands.

Derek Paley is PI for new AFOSR grant

Paley will work on "Optimized Routing of Intelligent, Mobile Sensors for Dynamic, Data-Driven Sampling."

Miniature Robotics REU students give final presentations

Ten undergrads from around the country give talks on their summer projects.

Derek Paley leads 'Robots and Roaches' workshop

Event for high school students introduces concepts of neurophysiology and robotics.

ISR welcomes 10 REU microbotics students for the summer

Students will develop interdisciplinary research projects in 10-week program.

Maryland Robotics Center featured on live TV broadcast

Robots from five research groups help promote Maryland Day activities.

Derek Paley featured in new NSF research video

Video explains how unmanned aircraft could help determine hurricane strength.

Synchronized Swimming for Submarines

Paley studies schooling fish to improve motion coordination in unmanned vehicle teams.

Paley Wins NSF CAREER Award

Research will develop bio-inspired motion algorithms for autonomous vehicles.

Derek Paley wins NSF CAREER Award

Paley will study information transmission in biological groups.