Blake Krpec, a master’s student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University and graduate research assistant of the Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory, has been awarded the Journeyman Fellowship by the Army Research Lab (ARL). It is presented to a graduate student interested in combining computer vision and control techniques. Specifically, this fellowship is intended to investigate forms of vision based control that will enable UAS (unmanned air systems) to autonomously navigate relative to another UAS that has been detected. “Attempts have been made to address this problem, however they fell short of being able to track a target in real time, or were so computationally expensive that image classification and control techniques had to be computed off-board and sent to the vehicle via some wireless communication method. This use of a more powerful computer on the ground introduces strict infrastructure restrictions on the real world implementation of the solution. Our approach aims to perform all necessary computations on board the vehicle so that our solution could be implemented almost anywhere,” says Blake. “I would like to think Dr. John Valasek for supporting my pursuit of this fellowship, and supporting my research interest in this field. Also, I would like to think the Army Research Laboratory for presenting me with this opportunity, welcoming me on its facilities, and for funding this work.”
Blake has been working with his advisor, Dr. John Valasek, since the fall semester of his sophomore year (Fall 2016) as an undergraduate research assistant assisting in flight test validation of UAS, as well as the integration of various sensors and on board computers. He has earned his B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University in May 2019 and began working on his masters in August 2019. Blake’s main research interests include computer vision, controls using computer vision, and traditional controls applied to unmanned air systems.