Professor Nisar Ahmed

Dr. Ahmed received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in January 2012, focusing on Dynamics, Systems and Controls with minors in ECE and Applied Math. From 2012-2013, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Cornell Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) with Professor Mark Campbell. nisar_prof_headshotHe obtained his B.S. in Engineering in 2006 from The Cooper Union in his hometown of New York City. He joined the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at CU Boulder as an Assistant Professor in 2014.

Prof. Ahmed’s CV (periodically updated) and Google Scholar page.

Current Graduate Students

Aastha Acharya (Ph.D. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

Aastha is a Draper Fellow and earned her B.S. and M.Eng. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University, and has industry experience as a controls engineer with Lockheed Martin. AasthaHer research focuses on machine learning and competency awareness for autonomous aerospace systems.

Nicholas Conlon (Ph.D. student, Computer Science)

(co-advised with Prof. Daniel Szafir, CS) nick_conlon_sr_71_headshot Nick received his BS and MS in computer science from the University of Massachusetts. Prior to pursuing a PhD, Nick worked as an engineer in the defense and aerospace industry, contributing to projects in the domains of unmanned vehicle autonomy, deep learning, and computer vision. He also served several years as a soldier in the U.S. Army airborne infantry. Nick is interested in robotics, in particular human-robot interaction, planning, teaming, and trust.

Ofer Dagan (Ph.D. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

Ofer earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Technion in Israel. oferAfter spending some time in industry, he is now performing research on enabling decentralized data fusion for autonomous vehicle systems with heterogeneous state estimates and ownship uncertainties.

Hunter Ray (Ph.D. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hunter earned is B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University. As an undergraduate he led the effort on a 1U CubeSat’s integration and testing before it was launched to the ISS in 2018. Upon graduation, he worked at Draper evaluating spacecraft systems for civil and defense projects. His research involves improving human-machine interaction with autonomous aerospace systems. HunterRay_Headshot

Anne Theurkauf (Ph.D. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

(co-advised with Prof. Morteza Lahijanian, Aero) anne_theurkauf_304x400 After getting undergraduate degrees at Lehigh University, Anne got her start in engineering at Draper labs working on precision navigation instruments. After a few years of instrument prototyping and testing, shed moved out to Boulder to pursue an MS in Aerospace, working an the controls side for an atom-based inertial sensing project. Her Ph.D. research now focuses on navigation and multi-objective planning for collaborative multi-agent systems exploring the lunar surface, specifically using formal methods to generate decision making strategies that maximize both mission value and safety.

Shohei Wakayama (Ph.D. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

Shohei earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kyushu University in Japan, and is pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering through a fellowship from the Masason shohei_picFoundation. His research focuses on developing novel strategies for collaborative human-autonomy decision-making under uncertainty in space exploration missions.

Luke Barbier (M.S. student, Computer Science, B.S. ECEE 2019)

Luke is a CS MS student who joined the lab in 2017. He was part of the CU Boulder Discovery Learning Apprenticeship (DLA) program, and previously contributed to the active collaborative semantic sensing research effort. He is now leading the “MinAu” project, where his thesis research will focus on novel techniques for communication-limited underwater cooperative localization and data fusion. He was also the captain of the successful CU Boulder RoboSub autonomous underwater vehicle team. LukeBarbier

Jamison McGinley (M.S. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, B.S. 2019)

A graduate of the Smead AES program (B.S. 2020) who joined the lab in 2017. Jamison’s M.S. thesis research focuses on how machine generated assurances for decision making under uncertainty can be used to adjust user trust in reinforcement learning frameworks. As an undergraduate he was part of the CU Boulder Discovery Learning Apprenticeship (DLA) program, and has contributed to the active collaborative semantic sensing research effort as well as the “TRAADRE” project, which studied user trust in autonomous planning systems for lunar rover operations.  He is also an officer on the CU Boulder Rugby Team.jamison

Trevor Slack (M.S. student, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, B.S. 2021)

Current Undergraduate Students

Tycho Cinquini (Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Class of 2023)

Luke Morrissey (Bachelors Physics and Computer Science, Class of 2023)

Luke joined lab in 2020. He is working on the ONR MinAu UUV and NASA INPASS projects, assisting with the development of novel event-triggered and decentralized data fusion algorithms for autonomous robotic information fusion. Luke us also on the software team of the CU RoboSub and is an ASAP Tutor and Peer Mentor. L3

Lab Alumni

Dr. Luke Burks (Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2020)

LukeBurks_FancyHeadshotDissertation title: “Active Collaborative Sensing, Learning, and Planning in Human-Robot Teams”

Post-grad position: Research Scientist, Optimus Ride (Cambridge, MA)

personal website

Dr. Stephen McGuire (Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2019)

Dissertation title: “Autonomous Online Learning of Assistant Selection Policies for Fault Recovery” (funded by NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship)

Post-grad position: Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California Santa Cruz  Steve_FancyHeadshot

Dr. Brett Israelsen (Ph.D., Computer Science, 2019)

Dissertation title: “Algorithmic Assurances and Self-Assessment of Competency Boundaries in Autonomous Systems”

BrettI_fancyPost-grad position: Senior Research Engineer, United Technologies Research Center (East Hartford, CT)

personal website

Dawson Beatty (M.S., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2021)

M.S. Thesis: “Decentralized and Event-triggered Filtering for Position, Velocity, and Clock Bias Estimation”

Post-grad position: PhD at Virginia Polytechnic (Aerospace and Ocean Engineering)

Jack Daniel Center (M.S., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2021)

M.S. Thesis: “Data Fusion Aware Motion Planning for Information Gathering Tasks”

Akash Rateesh Babu (M.S., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2020)

M.S. Thesis (co-advised with Prof. Morteza Lahijanian, Aero): “Resource-Aware Planning Framework for Autonomous Systems in Communication-limited Environments”

Jonathan Manni (M.S., Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2020)


M.S. Thesis (co-advised with Prof. Jay McMahon, Aero): “Template Matching for Terrain Relative Navigation Under Varying Lighting Conditions”

Benjamin Mellinkoff (M.S. 2019, B.S. 2017, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

M.S. thesis (advised with Prof. Jack Burns, Dept. of Astrophysics): “Model-based Reinforcement Learning with Feedback from Machine Self-confidence”

Jeremy Muesing (M.S. 2020, B.S. 2017, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

M.S. Thesis: “Fully Bayesian Human-Machine Data Fusion for Robust Dynamic Target Surveillance and Characterization”

Post-grad position: Research Engineer, San Diego Padres (Major League Baseball)

Ian Loefgren (M.S. 2020, B.S. 2018, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

M.S. Thesis: “Scalable Navigation-Integrated Decentralized Data Fusion in Communication-Limited Environments”

Post-grad position: Draper (Cambridge, MA)

Cody Charland (M.S. 2020, B.S. 2018, Aerospace Engineering Sciences)

M.S. Thesis: “Autonomous Aerial Search and Mapping of Unknown Built Environments”

Post-grad position: Stratom, Inc. (Boulder, CO)

David Iglesias (M.S. Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2017)

M.S. Thesis: “Cooperative Robot Localization Using Event-triggered Estimation ” davidi

Post-grad position: Point One Navigation (San Francisco, CA)

Nicholas Sweet (M.S. Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2016)

nicksweetlatestM.S. Thesis: “Semantic Likelihood Models for Bayesian Inference in Human-Robot Interaction”

Post-grad position: Engineer at Maidbot (Austin, TX).

Matthew Aitken (M.S. Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2016)

M.S. Thesimattaitkens: “Assured Human-Autonomy Interaction through Machine Self-Confidence”

Post-grad position: Engineer at Draper (Cambridge, MA).

Sousheel Vunnam (B.S. Computer Science, 2019)

sousheelPost-grad position: Amazon (Seattle, WA)

Holden Kjerland-Nicoletti (B.S. Computer Science, 2021)holden

Sierra Williams (B.S. Aerospace Engineering Sciences, 2017)

Post-grad position: Lockheed Martin Space Systems (Littleton, CO).