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By Ashley Skow, Texas A&M Innovation


Dr. Moble Benedict is an associate professor of aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He completed both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and in 2010 received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining Texas A&M he worked for the University of Maryland’s Rotorcraft Center of Excellence as a research scientist. He has served as a faculty member with the College of Engineering since 2014 and is founder and director of the Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory (AVFL).

Dr. Benedict conducts research in the areas of design, development, and autonomous control of high performance next-generation vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capable aircraft, autonomous rotorcraft for planetary exploration, green aviation, high efficiency wind/tidal turbines, and uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs). He has carried out cutting-edge pioneering research in these topics, impacting disciplines such as rotorcraft, microsystems, wind energy, and underwater propulsion.

A prolific inventor, Dr. Benedict has filed 10 patents during his career (three of them granted) and three of these technologies are now licensed to startup companies for commercialization. Few examples of his patents include a robotic hummingbird, gun-launched drone, air/ground transformer aircraft, cyclocopter, amphibious underwater vehicle, air-bearing levitation system, etc.

In 2018, Dr. Benedict along with his PhD students David Coleman, Carl Runco, Hunter, Farid Saemi, Atanu Halder, and Bochan Lee, founded Harmony Aeronautics, an early-stage startup that seeks to commercialize dual-use quiet propulsion technology developed at Texas A&M in the AVFL. Coleman graduated in 2021 and is currently the CTO of Harmony. Harmony was awarded a $150,000 Phase-I STTR contract in 2020 to conduct a feasibility study on designing quiet rotor technology for the Air Force, and in 2022 they were awarded a $750,000 Phase-2 STTR contract to further develop the technology including fabrication and testing of a full-scale prototype. So far, Harmony has raised $1.3M in total funding.

In addition to the work on quiet propulsion systems, Harmony seeks to commercialize other types of novel multi-modal aircraft developed at the AVFL. One such vehicle is the Gun-Launched UAS, which is a small tubular rotorcraft which is loaded into and fired from a 40mm grenade launcher to a targeted surveillance area. Another aircraft is the quad-cyclocopter, an aircraft with specialized rotary-wing devices which provide a safe and efficient alternative to conventional rotors. Finally, the multi-modal amphibious unmanned underwater vehicle, which features ground-crawling tracks for traversing multiple terrain types as well as four deployable cyclorotors for propulsion as an underwater submersible.

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