Pavithra Prabhakar Recipient of Office of Naval Research YIP Award

Pavithra Prabhakar

Formal Synthesis of Robust, Optimal Controllers for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.

The Science of Autonomy program addresses critical multi-disciplinary research challenges that cut across different Office of Naval Research departments and warfighting areas/domains. This involves different autonomous system domains that have traditionally been somewhat separated (air, sea, undersea, ground), including: control theory, artificial intelligence, human factors engineering and related fields such as biology/animal behavior/cognition, economics/management theory, cognitive science/psychology and neuroscience. A key aspect of the Science of Autonomy program is to enable new teaming arrangements across the relevant disciplines and to encourage multi-disciplinary education of students in these areas.

Fundamental research in this program will support the development of future autonomous systems that may be used for many naval mission areas across different operating domains. The goal is to enable heterogeneous naval unmanned naval systems to:

Operate as part of a hybrid force with manned systems and platforms
Maintain survivability through decentralized assets and redundancy
Reduce the need to place personnel and high-value assets in high-threat areas
Reduce manning and communication requirements
Determine the best way to accomplish each mission task, with appropriate human guidance, freeing the warfighter to maintain awareness of the entire battlespace
Expand the operational envelope of naval forces, provide force multiplication or replace existing capabilities with less expensive alternatives

Program Description
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is interested in receiving proposals for its Young Investigator Program (YIP). YIP seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment and for FY17, have begun their first appointment on or after November 4, 2011, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The program's objectives are to attract outstanding faculty members of Institutions of Higher Education (hereafter also called "universities") to the Department of Navy's (DoN's) research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

ONR Program Manager
Reginald G. Williams, Ph.D.