CEAS Aerospace Researcher Brings Fuzzy into Focus

By:     Staci Jones
Date:  July 13, 2017

Dr. Kelly Cohen, Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Interim Department Head for the CEAS Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, brings Fuzzy Logic into focus as he collaborates with colleagues and students to make waves in the field of UAVs. 

Dr. Kelly Cohen

Dr. Kelly Cohen

Growing up in India, a fascination with airplanes and flight principles is what led Kelly Cohen, University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Professor, to study aeronautical engineering. In receiving his BS, MS, and PhD from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Cohen was introduced to Fuzzy Logic by his PhD Advisor, Dr. Tanchum Weller, who suggested that he take a look at applying fuzzy logic for the active control of flexible space structures.

“I went on utilizing fuzzy logic extensively during my PhD studies and had numerous publications in that field of research,” said Cohen, who was recently named Interim Department Head for the CEAS Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.

Cohen’s fuzzy logic research followed him to UC where, among many accolades and recognition, has most recently won him and Dr. Nick Ernest, his former student, the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award for “the advancement and application of artificial intelligence to large scale, meaningful and challenging aerospace related problems.”

Cohen joined UC CEAS in September 2007 and has since had a research focus in the area of intelligent systems (which includes fuzzy logic based systems), UAVs and optimization. He has utilized genetic fuzzy logic based algorithms for control and decision-making applications in the area of autonomous collaborating robotics, as well as predictive modeling for personalizing medical treatment in neurological disorders.

Since 2010, Cohen has graduated six PhD students and nineteen MSc students. He has also secured $3.0 million dollars in research funding at UC. Within the past seven years, Cohen has secured grants from NSF, USAF, and NASA to develop algorithms for UAV applications.

“I worked in the early years of UAVs, they were not as popular as they are now where you can literally hear drones buzzing all around you,” Cohen said jokingly.

So far in his career, Cohen has had over 60 per reviewed archival publications and another 270 conference papers, presentations, and invited seminars.

Some of the recent awards, honors and recognitions that Cohen has received while at UC include the Neil Wandmacher Teaching Annual Award and Master Educator Award, College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2013; the Fellow of the Academy for Teaching & Learning in 2014; the AIAA Certificate for distinguished service as Chair, Intelligent Systems Technical Committee; the Distinguished Researcher Award, College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2015; and the UC Dolly A. Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.

Drs. Cohen & Ernest receive the AIAA Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award

Drs. Cohen & Ernest receive the AIAA Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award.


His latest AIAA Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award, in collaboration with Ernest, was a result of several note-worthy publications in the area of fuzzy systems. A few of the publications include:

  • Ernest N., Carroll, D., Schumacher, C., Clark, M., Cohen K., and Lee, G., “Genetic Fuzzy Based Artificial Intelligence for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Control in Simulated Air Combat Missions ”, Journal of Defense Management, Volume 6, No. 144, 2016, 7 pages, doi:10.4172/2167-0374.1000144
  • Sathyan, A., Ernest, N., and Cohen, K., “An Efficient Genetic Fuzzy Approach to UAV Swarm Routing”, Unmanned Systems, April 2016, Vol. 04, No. 2, pp. 117-127.
  •  Hanlon, N., Kumar, M., and Cohen, K., “Air Traffic Controller-Assisted UAV Monitoring via TCP and TCP+1 Way-Points by a Fuzzy Logic Controller International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering (IJUSEng), Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 46-59, August 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.14323/ijuseng.2016.8
  • Ernest N., Cohen K., Kivelevitch E., Schumacher, Casbeer, D., “Genetic Fuzzy Trees and their Application Towards Autonomous Training and Control of a Squadron of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles”, Unmanned Systems Volume 03, Issue 03, July 2015, pp. 185-204.
  • Walker, A., Putman, P., and Cohen, K., “A Solely Magnetic Genetic-Fuzzy Attitude Control Algorithm for a CubeSat”, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 52, No. 6, September 21, 2015, pp. 1627-1639.
  •  Ernest N., and Cohen K., “Fuzzy Logic Based Intelligent Agents for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Control”, Journal of Defense Management, Volume 6, Issue 1, #Issue 1, 139, 2015. doi:10.4172/2167-0374.1000139

Cohen’s future fuzzy logic research plans are to work with his current PhD students and possibly some MS students as they utilize fuzzy logic in large scale, meaningful applications; including efforts sponsored by United States Air Force Research Laboratories, with the framework of the DAGSI and NDSEG programs, and NASA Ames.

“Our research efforts in the area of fuzzy logic systems have been well received around the world and we wish to build upon that success by widening the number of applications going beyond aerospace to the field of neuroscience,” said Cohen. “We have had excellent results for predictive modeling in treatment of bipolar disorders and diagnosis of the brain concussions after trauma, accidents, or sports injuries.”

Beyond the recent AIAA award, Cohen also submitted three papers in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux at the Dayton Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium (DCASS), one of which received the best presentation award; “Position, Attitude and Fault Tolerant Control of Tilt Rotor Quadcopter,” Drs. Manish Kumar, Franck Cazaurang and Kelly Cohen.

The above paper was presented by UC student, Rumit Kumar and won for the category of Flight Dynamics and Controls. Two other UC CEAS students also presented at DCASS and won best presentation in their respective tracks; Gaurav Patil in the Design and Optimization category, and Nathaniel Richards for the Unmanned Aerial Systems category.

Cohen sees a very bright and expanding upcoming for the field of fuzzy logic research and states that, “the future is only going to get fuzzier!”