Luis Benigno Gutiérrez Zea

Luis Benigno Gutierrez Zea projects: VIsor 2 ROV, GTmax, Luis photo, Aura UAV, Aura Jr UAV, Colibri, Visor 3 ROV, flight data recorder for acquisition of flight test data, Andean Condor UAV, UAV for research in flight mechanics and flight controls


Dr. Luis Benigno Gutiérrez Zea was born in Medellín, Colombia. He received a degree in Electronic Engineering from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Medellín, Colombia) in 1989, the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, Texas, USA) in 1996, and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) in 2004. He carried out his Master’s thesis at the Automation and Robotics Research Institute – ARRI (Fort Worth, Texas, USA), which today is the UTA Research Institute – UTARI, on the “Implementation of a neural network tracking controller for a single flexible link: comparison with PD and PID controllers” under the mentorship of Dr. Frank L. Lewis. His Ph.D. thesis was conducted at the Intelligent Control Systems Laboratory at Georgia Tech on “Adaptive mode transition control architecture with an application to unmanned aerial vehicles” under the mentorship of Dr. George Vachtsevanos. Dr. Gutiérrez received a Fulbright-LASPAU scholarship for his Master’s studies and another Fulbright-LASPAU-Colciencias-DNP scholarship for his Doctorate studies. From 1989 to 2012, Dr. Gutiérrez was a professor at the Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, and in 2012 he continued as a professor at the Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering of the same university, where he is currently a Professor. He is the author of the book “Systems and Signals” and co-authors several articles in scientific journals and conferences. His research interests include control theory, intelligent control, robotics, unmanned vehicles, flight mechanics, aircraft flight control of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, and fault-tolerant control systems.

Main achievements

From 1997 to 2000, he was co-leader of the project that allowed the creation of the Visor 2 underwater vehicle. Between 1999 and 2000, he was the director of the Mechanical Design and Control group – Visor until he went on to do his doctoral studies at Georgia Tech. In 2000 he got involved in research on the development of control systems for rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicles, participating with his doctoral thesis in the Software Enabled Control (SEC) research program, sponsored by DARPA, which used the GTmax unmanned helicopter from Georgia Tech as a test vehicle. Upon his return to Colombia, after obtaining his doctorate in 2004, he returned to Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. He assumed the direction of the Automation and Design Research Group – A+D, leading projects to design and build fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles and underwater vehicles. This group resulted from merging the Mechanical Design and Control group – Visor of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Grial group of the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. At the same time, he assumed the leadership of the team that designed the UAV Aura to inspect and monitor the infrastructure of the high-voltage transmission lines of Interconexión Eléctrica SA (ISA).

In 2005, under his leadership, the UAV Aura Jr was built, the first UAV developed at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, as a small technological demonstrator to seek financing for the following project stages that would allow the construction and testing of the prototype of the UAV Aura. Between 2004 and 2006, he participated in the Colibrí project carried out by Universidad EAFIT, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, and Universidad de Medellín. In this project, a rotary wing UAV based on a mini helicopter was developed, and he helped implement and review mathematical models, simulation models, algorithms, and flight control software. Between 2005 and 2009, he led the project developed by a multidisciplinary group to design and build the ROV Visor 3. In 2005 the design of the UAV Aura was completed. Still, as he did not obtain the funding to build the prototypes, he led another project to design and develop a new UAV to act in the mountainous topography of Colombia, the Andean Condor, which was built in 2008. At that time, he looked for the possibility of creating a Spin-off due to his UAV research, seeking to develop and commercialize UAVs fully. For this, he sought government and investor funding but gave up the idea when he did not get financial support. In 2010 he left the direction of the A+D group and dedicated himself to deepening his research and developments. In 2011 he married Luz Dary Castellanos Prada, Director of the Basic Science Center of Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, with whom he currently has two children, Juan Luis and Susana. In 2012 he joined the Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering of Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, concentrating his research on flight control and aircraft flight mechanics, including the integration of hardware and software development for this purpose. Among his primary creations, there is a software infrastructure for the implementation of real-time control systems, the “Structure Manager,” which has served as the basis for subsequent software developments in the implementation of data acquisition and control systems of unmanned vehicles on embedded systems; the development of software for aerodynamic modeling, performance analysis and the design of aircraft flight control systems, simulation models and the implementation of guidance, navigation and control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles. From 2015 to 2016, he did the hardware integration and software development for a flight data acquisition system to support the certification flights of an ultralight aircraft in Colombia. Between 2017 and 2020, he developed a small UAV to research flight mechanics and flight control of fixed-wing aircraft. Recently he has been working on fault-tolerant control with applications in a sensor fault-tolerant air data system and in developing fault-tolerant control systems for AC/DC microgrids. He currently dedicates his time to teaching and research in flight mechanics, aircraft flight control, and fault-tolerant control systems with applications to aircraft flight control and control of electrical microgrids, including developing mathematical models, simulation models, algorithm development, and the implementation in hardware and software.




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