Acting Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute
Parimal Kopardekar (PK) serves as the Acting Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI). In that capacity, he is responsible for exploring new trends and needs related to aviation in the areas of autonomy, aeronautics manufacturing, and advanced air mobility. He also serves as NASA's senior technologist for Air Transportation Systems and principal investigator for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) project. He was formerly manager of the NASA’s Safe Autonomous System Operations Project, which developed autonomy related concepts, technologies and architectures that will increase efficiency, safety, and capacity of airspace operations. Prior to that, he managed Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen) Concepts and Technology Development Project.
He enjoys initiating new concepts and technology ideas that increase airspace capacity and throughput, reduce delays, and reduce the total cost of air transportation. At NASA, he has initiated many innovative research projects including reduced crew operations, net-enabled air traffic management, autonomy for airspace operations, Shadow-Mode Assessment using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System (SMART NAS), and low-altitude airspace management system focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. In 2017, he was named among the 25 most influential people in commercial drone industry.
He is also finalist for Service to America Medals (known as Oscar of Federal Workforce) in Promising Innovation Category (awardee to be announced in October 2018). He has published over 50 conference and journal papers with three best paper awards, delivered more than 15 keynote talks at national and international conferences, and participates as an expert with media on topics related to unmanned aircraft systems, urban air mobility, and autonomy. He is a Fellow of the American Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and recipient of numerous NASA awards including Outstanding Leadership Medal and Engineer of the Year.