Control of Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles for Optimal Information Gathering

Joao P. Hespana, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

This talk addresses the control of a single or a team of UAVs to optimize their ability to gather information and to make inferences on that information. A key message that we want to convey is that optimization-based approaches to UAV navigation often lead to solutions that can be unexpected, but significantly outperform naif heuristics. We will try to make this point in the context of specific problems where UAVs gather data from onboard sensors or query external sensors to gather information about the environment, and for which we have done extensive flight tests.

João P. Hespanha was born in Coimbra, Portugal, in 1968. He received the Licenciatura in electrical and computer engineering from the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal in 1991 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and applied science from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut in 1998. From 1999 to 2001, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002, where he currently holds a Professor position with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prof. Hespanha is Associate Director for the Center for Control, Dynamical-systems, and Computation (CCDC), Vice-Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a member of the Executive Committee for the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB). From 2004—2007 he was an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control.
His current research interests include hybrid and switched systems; the modeling and control of communication networks; distributed control over communication networks (also known as networked control systems); the use of vision in feedback control; and stochastic modeling in biology.
Dr. Hespanha is the recipient of the Yale University’s Henry Prentiss Becton Graduate Prize for exceptional achievement in research in Engineering and Applied Science, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2005 best paper award at the 2nd Int. Conf. on Intelligent Sensing and Information Processing, the 2005 Automatica Theory/Methodology best paper prize, the 2006 George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award, and the 2009 Ruberti Young Researcher Prize. Dr. Hespanha is a Fellow of the IEEE and an IEEE distinguished lecturer since 2007.