Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Seiler hired as Assistant Professor

Peter Seiler

The AEM department is welcoming a new faculty member this fall. Professor Pete Seiler is the department’s newest assistant professor.

Professor Seiler received Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1996. He went on to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at University of California, Berkeley, which he received in 2001.

Professor Seiler worked at Honeywell for four years prior to joining the University of Minnesota. While at Honeywell he worked primarily on the flight control system for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. The flight control electronics uses many copied components to achieve high levels of safety. The redundant components include multiple sensors to measure the condition of the aircraft, computers to run the control algorithms, and hydraulic systems/actuators to move the control surfaces. The redundancy of devices must be properly managed to ensure the correct functioning of the entire flight control system. The main focus of Seiler's work on the 787 was the development of the algorithms for redundancy management. After his work at Honeywell, Seiler worked as a Senior Research Associate in the AEM department for three years.

Professor Seiler has a background in control systems and will be teaching AEM 4321 Automatic Control Systems, an undergraduate controls class, in the fall. He has also taught AEM 5321 Modern Feedback Control, a graduate controls class, as a Senior Research Associate.

“Working with the graduate students, seeing them progress, I get a lot of fulfillment out of that,” Professor Seiler said.

Professor Seiler’s research deals with fault detection in flight controls and its applicability to other domains. Airplanes have proven to be very reliable, with a recorded rate of roughly one failure for every 109 flight hours. This is achieved in part by having multiple copies of equipment such as computers and actuators aboard aircraft. Seiler hopes to take this level of reliability and transfer it to domains, such as cars and medical devices, without using multiple copies of equipment. He is currently working with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and plans to utilize the AEM UAV research lab.

Professor Seiler is applying his control systems knowledge to wind energy. The University has received a Department of Energy grant on the topic, and a wind turbine is currently being constructed in UMore (University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education) Park, located 25 miles from the Twin Cities. Seiler hopes to make wind energy more effective and reliable by controlling the turbine to reduce loads and vibrations, ultimately reducing costs because parts won’t need to be replaced as frequently. Seiler looking forward to the hands-on research the new turbine will provide for himself and his students.

“I really enjoy being able to see the reseach being applied to a physical device,” Professor Seiler said. “The fact that we’ve got this large industrial-scale turbine on campus is a great thing for real hands-on research as opposed to just simulation.”

Professor Seiler is a member of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He won the O. Hugo Schuck Award for best paper at the American Control Conference in 2002 and the B.T. Chao award for extraordinary scholarly achievements by a senior within the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UIUC in 1996.

See Professor Seiler's faculty page here.

Last Modified: Thursday, 11-Aug-2011 12:06:44 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation