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
Brain and Behavior Institute
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

Newly-Opened SMART Building to Spur Autonomy Research

Maryland engineering will benefit from state-of-the-art labs and facilities at USMSM.

USMSM Debuts SMART Innovation Center

New, $86 million facility to expand educational opportunities, autonomous vehicles research.

Three Ph.D. students awarded Amazon Lab126 Fellowships

Sydrak Abdi, Sara Honarvar and Pedro Sandoval-Segura are the Fellowship recipients.

An Opportunity to Shape the Field…While Still a Student

Students selected for the UMD UAS Test Site’s summer internship program brainstorm. design and test real-world applications.

Three UMD Alumni Among Aviation Week Network’s 2021 20 Twenties

Rachel Cueva (’21), Niloy Gupta (’21) and Justin Lidard (’20) among 2021 awardees.

Rachel Suitor aboard NGS/NOAA expedition in Gulf of Mexico

The Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. student is working with robotic "Driftcams" to document aquatic life at different depths of the oceanic rim ecosystem.

UMD Takes Second in VFS Design-Build-Vertical-Flight Competition

Competition challenges students to build remote-control electric-powered vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

UMD, UMBC, ARL Announce Cooperative Agreement to Accelerate AI, Autonomy in Complex Environments

The agreement leverages Maryland's national leadership in engineering, robotics, computer science, operations research, modeling and simulation, and cybersecurity.

Maryland Graduate Engineering Ranked #10 Public in the Nation

From extreme batteries to windows made from wood, Clark School’s trendsetting work ranks it among the country’s Top 10 public engineering schools for the 3rd consecutive year.

Standing with our Asian-American Community

The Clark School community stands united with our Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islanders colleagues.

New undergraduate minor in robotics and autonomous systems

The Maryland Robotics Center will administer the program, which begins in Fall 2021.

Maryland Robotics Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Research and education hub continues to expand programs, outreach

$100,000 investment from Amazon to power Clark School initiatives in diversity, robotics research and education

Beneficiaries include two Ph.D. fellowships in robotics, the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering, a robotics capstone course, the Black Engineers Society and the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers.

UMD Student Team Advances in UAS Competition

High endurance design could be a boon for emergency responders.

Engineering Robotic Starfish

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

UMD Student Wins First Place in AIAA Region I Student Conference Paper Competition

Aerospace engineering senior Charles Flanagan takes first place in Undergraduate Category.

Two Engineers Among 2020-2021 Distinguished Scholar-Teachers

Professors Thomas Murphy and Derek Paley have been selected by the University of Maryland as Distinguished Scholar-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.

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.

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.

Aerospace Engineering Student Wins NDSEG Fellowship

Senior Patrick Washington Receives National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship

Four UMD Aerospace Engineering Students Named Penton Aviation Week Network’s 20 Twenties

Free, Kumar, Ng and Weinstein recognized as tomorrow’s engineering leaders.

Paley is Principal Investigator for $2M 'SEA-STAR' grant

Researchers will create soft underwater robot appendages that mimic functionality found in sea stars; Werley is a co-PI.

Alumni Frontin and Stebbins Awarded NASA Fellowships

Two B.S. 2014 UMD aerospace engineering alums, Cory Frontin and Spencer Stebbins, receive NASA fellowships.

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.

Aerospace Engineering Students and Alumni Receive NSF Fellowships

Students Brown and Free, and alumni Mills awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Barkley and Hersey Receive L-3 Graduate Scholarships

Aerospace Engineering graduate students Brett Barkley and Sean Hersey receive 2015-2016 L-3 Scholarships.

UMD Hosts Capitol Hill Panel on Autonomous Systems

Experts gathered to discuss UAVs in an event hosted by the Clark School on July 16.

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.

Bergbreiter and Paley Honored at White House Ceremony

UMD researchers were honored yesterday at the White House as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

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.

Two Clark School Faculty Members Receive Presidential Early Career Awards

Bergbreiter and Paley honored by the White Houseas outstanding early-career scientists.

Clark School Welcomes 10 Summer Robotics Research Students

Students part of 10-week Research Opportunities in Miniature Robotics program.

AGRC is a Vertical Lift Rotorcraft Center of Excellence

Gessow Rotorcraft Center part of a $7 million research effort.

Paley Elected AIAA Associate Fellow

Honor recognizes successful practice in the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics.

Faculty News Roundup

Clark School faculty promotions, moves announced.

Synchronized Swimming for Submarines

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

Leishman, Schaler Named Goldwater Scholars

Aerospace, mechanical engineering students receive premier award for undergraduates.

Paley Wins NSF CAREER Award

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

NSF Grant for Hurricane Forecasting Work

Recovery funds go to Derek Paley for improving control of unmanned aircraft.