About Me

Affiliation

I am the AIT Software Lead for the European satellite navigation system Galileo, working at OHB System AG in Bremen, Germany. Previously, I’ve filled the same role as a technology consultant with SALT AND PEPPER Technology GmbH & Co. KG. My current duties involve the management of a small team of developers responsible for flight system databases and test scripts of navigation satellites and the verification and validation of the Mission Information Base alongside fabrication. Until recently, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) of the University of Bremen. My dissertation was written during my time as doctorate candidate at the Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics Laboratory, which is part of the Institute for Systems and Robotics of the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal. My thesis supervisors were Prof. António M. Pascoal (IST Lisbon) and Prof. John Hauser (University of Colorado at Boulder).

Current Research

During my PhD years, my main focus of work was the generation of energy-minimal trajectories for scenarios involving multiple Autonomous Marine Vehicles (AMVs), based on optimal control techniques. Using the Projection Operator Approach of Prof. John Hauser, an infinite-dimensional optimization technique, allows for explicitly incorporating the full vehicle dynamics. It is inherent to the approach that the trajectories are feasible in terms of the vehicle dynamics, and using a barrier functional, we are able to quickly achieve solutions that are within the limits of given constraints. This is true even for highly non-convex problems, such as obstacle avoidance in cluttered environments or inter-vehicle collision avoidance.

In addition to my research, I find myself more and more involved in management activities, which require the coordination of development activities of various contributing partners from academia, research facilities, and the industry. During my time as postdoc at the University of Bremen, these duties were primarily focused on two projects, one where I coordinated the development of a novel type of underwater glider, and another one in which I managed the design, integration, validation, and test procedures for marine sensor suites as part of the technical oversight committee. I was also involved with co-supervising two MSc. students in projects on robotic motion planning as well as reasoning methods for marine geology.

I am actively continuing my research interests in my magical lab wonderland at home, where my family allows me to bathe in the marvels of autonomous ground vehicles. My two chief focal points are autonomy in agriculture (or, since I’m on my own, gardening) and early-stage education for kids. One of my recent robots is one that my daughters can sequencially program using simple input buttons and a screen showing their motion program, including a “fire” mode for a small water cannon.

Scientific Interests

Path and Trajectory Generation and Optimization
Planning Tools for Multiple Autonomous Robots
Autonomous Vehicles and Automation
Mission Planning and On-Line Replanning
Autonomous Marine Vehicles
Life-long learning and early education in robotics and algorithmic thinking

About learning

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack 23, 1755.

Getting things done

And in order to reach a decision, there must be a point at which thinking has to stop.

Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky, The Turing Option, 1992.

On optimization

It has been running now for a couple of days.

Harry Harrison and Marving Minsky, The Turing Option, 1992