PhD Candidate wins Outstanding Paper Award at IEEE Conference

Joseph Breeden lauded for paper on ensuring autonomous systems can operate safely within actuator constraints

University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering PhD candidate Joseph Breeden won the Outstanding Student Paper Award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Aerospace Control for his paper, “High Relative Degree Control Barrier Functions Under Input Constraints.”

Breeden’s Outstanding Student Paper Award was presented at the American Control Conference earlier in June.

Co-authored by faculty advisor Dimitra Panagou, the research paper focuses on ensuring that autonomous systems choose control actions that result in the system always meeting certain user-specified requirements, even when the system’s ability to influence its environment is strictly limited. 

Breeden describes the details of this research: “Because of these actuator limitations, it may be the case that achieving the user-specified requirements is impossible, or if they are possible, then the system might take actions that would cause the requirements to become impossible in the future. This paper addresses this dilemma by developing a method to determine whether given requirements are currently achievable, and if so, to regulate the system’s actions so that, even with the system’s limited actuator capabilities, the requirements are always achieved in the future as well. We then apply this method to guiding a satellite around the asteroid Eros.”

“It is great to be recognized for my work, and to see interest from the controls community as I begin expanding this research to the multi-agent domain,” says Breeden on receiving this acknowledgment.

Panagou echoes this, adding, “This is a well-deserved award and recognition of Joseph’s dedication and  excellent work on constrained control of aerospace vehicles”
Breeden is an FXB Fellow, the Aerospace department’s most prestigious award for graduate students.