MIT Sea Grant has awarded the 2011 Dean A. Horn Award for Undergraduate Study in Marine Research to Adam Doroski, a graduating senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Doroski was nominated for his senior thesis, titled Precision Stationkeeping with Azimuthing Structures, by Franz Hover, the Finmeccanica Career Development Professor in Engineering.
Hover’s group has built a small kayak with twin azimuthing thrusters (one forward and one aft), for the purpose of precision stationkeeping — a capability that other autonomous boats lack. The control problem is not an easy one because of the nonlinearities involved. Doroski’s contribution to this work advances the super-maneuvering capabilities of marine craft.
Hover describes Doroski’s accomplishments this way: “Adam tackled the controller design with a completely fresh perspective, first constraining the kinematic behavior of the thruster pair so as to simplify the problem, and then applying sound feedback control principles. He successfully proved out in simulation several original strategies, incorporating slew rate limits, simplified thrust dynamical models, and wave disturbances in order to capture realistic behavior.”
The Horn Award is named for Dean A. Horn, director of MIT Sea Grant from 1975-1982. The award was established upon his retirement in 1983 to honor his ideals of service, creativity, pursuit of excellence and tireless application to research. An award of $1,000 is presented yearly to selected MIT undergraduate students for a creative marine-related project and resulting paper. Students from any academic department are eligible.