VSCL is proud to welcome two new graduate research assistants:
Esteban Gomez is a MEng student in the aerospace engineering department. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University in December 2020. During his time as an undergraduate, Esteban assisted with sensor integration, as well as flight test validation of UAS (unmanned air systems) across multiple VSCL projects. He has been an active member of VSCL since Spring 2019 and will begin working on his masters in January 2021. Esteban’s main interests include flight test engineering, embedded systems, and aircraft dynamics.
Christopher Leshikar is a Ph.D. student in the aerospace engineering department. Chris has been an active member of VSCL since Spring 2017, working on non-linear multiple-time-scale control theory and system identification. As an undergraduate, he attained internships with the Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations and the Defense Intelligence Agency (cancelled due to COVID-19). Chris graduated with a B.S. in aerospace engineering with Engineering Honors in December 2020. As a Graduate Research Assistant, he will be researching control of nonlinear multiple time-scale systems, and online near real-time system identification, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
The 50th graduate degree has been earned by a VSCL graduate student. Jin Suzuki earned the first degree, an M.S. in 1997, and Dr. Vinicius Goecks earned the fiftieth degree, a Ph.D. in May 2020. Several VSCL graduates students have earned both the M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees during this span, and Dr. Valasek has served as advisor to all 50 degrees. The list of students and dates can be viewed here.
VSCL Graduate Research Assistant and Ph.D. student Garrett Jares has joined the AIAA Aerospace Cybersecurity Working Group (ACWG). The ACWG is involved with aerospace cybersecurity within the overall vision and mission of AIAA. It is composed of cybersecurity interested members from across the AIAA and provides opportunities to educate those involved with conceptualization, design, development, testing, deployment, operations, maintenance, and management of aerospace systems. ACWG seeks to engage in active information exchange among those involved in aerospace related cybersecurity, documenting the results, and making those results available to the broader aerospace systems community. The goal of the working group is to enable organizations to improve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of aerospace systems and data.
Garrett is a recipient of the 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which is supporting his doctoral dissertation on investigating cyber-attacks designed that are designed to take control of an aircraft by targeting the vehicle’s sensor data. This research will help identify and better understand the vulnerabilities in current systems and develop safeguards against such attacks. Garrett is a recipient of the Crawford & Hattie Jackson Foundation Scholarship, the Edward C. Clay ’47 Memorial Scholarship, and the 2018 Lechner Graduate Fellowship.
Dr. Dipanjan Saha, a December 2018 Ph.D. graduate of VSCL, has started a new position as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University, effective 01 July 2020. Dipanjan has been selected to be part of Northeastern’s newly launched Experiential Artificial Intelligence (EAI) postdoc program. This program is meant to prepare the postdoctoral fellows towards a future career in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) through courses and research. Dipanjan is mentored by Prof. Taskin Padir, and his research will develop novel AI techniques targeted at specific applications including robotics and healthcare. His Ph.D. dissertation investigated novel theories of control design for nonlinear, nonstandard multiple-time-scale systems with uncertainties and output feedback. Prior to his current position, he has pursued postdoctoral research at Texas A&M University on tensegrity systems and uncertainty quantification. He has also been the instructor of record for AERO 321 (Dynamics of Aerospace Vehicles) for three semesters, and a member of the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Technical Committee.
Many students of the Texas A&M Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory have been selected for offsite internships for the Summer of 2020. These internships show VSCL student representation at a variety of companies and institutions across the United States. Students which have been selected for internships in the Summer of 2020 include:
VSCL Graduate Research Assistant and Ph.D. Student Ritwik Bera has been selected for a Summer 2020 internship at US Army Research Lab ’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate in Aberdeen, MD. Ritwik will be working as a Research Associate on the ARL-HRED initiative to investigate how humans can shape the behavior of autonomous machines driven by learning algorithms.
VSCL Graduate Research Assistant and M.S. student Blake Krpec has been selected for a Summer 2020 internship at US Army Research Lab in Aberdeen, MD. Blake will be working as a Journeyman Research Fellow on the US Army initiative to investigate a potential target tracking /following system involving one UAS being able to detect another UAS, and navigate relative to said target. Blake has been a member of VSCL since Fall of 2016, where he supported flight test projects, sensor and hardware integration, aircraft performance, and other target tracking efforts.
Incoming VSCL Graduate Research Assistant and Ph.D Student Hannah Lehman has been selected for a Summer 2020 research internship at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM. Hannah will be working as a Research & Development Intern, with a principal focus of applying machine learning to defense vehicles. Hannah started working with VSCL as an undergraduate in the Spring of 2017, with her major roles including managing the flight simulator lab and performing research into reinforcement learning for use onboard aircraft. Hannah will graduate with her BS in Aerospace Engineering in May 2020 and will be returning in the fall to pursue her Ph.D.
VSCL Graduate Research Assistant and Master of Science Student Morgan Wood has been selected for a Summer 2020 internship at VectorNav Technologies, Dallas, TX. Morgan will be working as a Navigation Engineer Intern. Morgan started working with VSCL in the Fall of 2019, with his major roles including research for Army Futures Command on coordinated maneuvering of air and ground vehicles.
Vinicius G. Goecks (B.S. Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil), M.S. Texas A&M University) successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation titled “Human-In-The-Loop Methods For Data-Driven And Reinforcement Learning Systems”. This work is supported by the Army Research Laboratory, Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. Vinicius is a recipient of a graduate research fellowship sponsored by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) to research novel forms of human-robot interaction to enable humans to train intelligent robotic agents in real-time to perform desired tasks. He spent three consecutive summer internships in HRED working on it. Vinicius has accepted a Post-Doctoral research position at HRED. Vinicius is currently a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, and his main research interests are reinforcement learning, computer vision, and data-driven controllers applied to unmanned air systems. Congratulations Vinicius, all of VSCL is very proud of you and your accomplishments!
Dr. John Valasek, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University and director of the Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory, was in invited panelist on the topic of Innovation at Startup Speed: Vehicle Sensor Systems, Capital Factory, Austin, TX, 26 June 2019. Sponsored by BAE Systems of Austin, TX, panelists in the session discussed the need and use for advanced sensor systems and how they pose a challenge for researchers, developers, and regulators who are tasked with evaluating those systems and putting them into the field.
Tiffany Williamson ‘07, a former member of the Texas A&M Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory and currently Senior Engineering Manager of Advanced Flightdeck Research and Concept Development at Collins Aerospace, is the 2019 Emerging Technology Leader of the Year from the Technology Association of Iowa. The most prestigious recognition for Iowa’s technology industry, The Prometheus Awards presented by LWBJ brings together leaders from technology, business, education and government to celebrate the year’s most momentous innovations. The awards acknowledge individuals and companies impacting Iowa’s $11 billion technology industry, which accounts for 8.8 percent of the state’s GDP and employs over 88,400 workers. Finalists and award winners epitomize the great talent, companies and communities solidifying Iowa’s reputation as a technology state. Finalists were selected based on their contributions to Iowa’s technology community through innovation, development of creative solutions, and demonstration of industry leadership. Congratulations Tiffany, VSCL is very proud of you and your accomplishments!
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The Vehicle Systems and Control Laboratory celebrated end of semester lunch at Mad Taco.