Kassas Wins 2019 ONR Young Investigator Award

Zak KassasJan. 16, 2019 - The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded Zak Kassas a Young Investigator Program (YIP) grant. Kassas, an assistant professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering and electrical engineering & computer science, will receive $750,000 over three years for his work on non-GPS navigation technology. The ONR seeks new and innovative navigation technologies that will provide accurate, reliable, maintainable and affordable systems for Naval surface, subsurface, air and ground platforms and forces.

Kassas’ research aims to develop a modernized position, navigation and timing (PNT) system architecture that mitigates the shortcomings of current GPS systems. His approach is networked, collaborative, adaptable and signal-diverse, exploiting signals of opportunity: cellular, digital television, Wi-Fi and satellite communications, for example.

“Signals of opportunity are promising for reliable and accurate PNT, and they enjoy several advantages over GPS,” said Kassas who directs the autonomous systems perception, intelligence & navigation laboratory (ASPIN). “These signals are ubiquitous, received at a significantly higher power than GPS, and diverse in frequency and direction. Plus, they are free to use, since they are already being transmitted for other purposes.”

The ONR YIP is one of the nation’s oldest and most selective basic research early career awards in science and technology. Its purpose is to fund tenure-track academic researchers whose scientific pursuits show outstanding promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development. The ONR YIP is a highly competitive program in which academic achievements and potential for scientific breakthroughs are major factors in the evaluation process. This year’s 25 winners were selected from more than 260 applicants.

– Lori Brandt

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