Hedrick to join mechanical faculty in July


Karl Hedrick, a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), will join the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Hedrick, who will begin his tenure in July, will serve as a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Distinguished Research Professor and as the lead in establishing a Center for Safe Autonomous Road Vehicle Systems.

Hedrick’s research focuses on the application of advanced control theory to a wide variety of vehicle dynamic systems including automotive, aircraft and ocean vehicles. Hedrick has served as the chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently the director of the Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory at UC, Berkeley. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley Hedrick was a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he served as director of the Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory.

“Dr. Hedrick is an authority on autonomous and semi-autonomous ground vehicles,” said Dr. Andreas Polycarpou, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M. “We’re looking forward to him implementing his vision at Texas A&M.”

Hedrick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanics from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He obtained both his Master of Science and Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford University. He has published 142 archival journals, refereed 261 conference and symposium proceedings and has supervised more than 65 Ph.D. students.

Hedrick’s book “Dynamic Surface Control of Uncertain Nonlinear Systems: An LMI Approach,” provides a theoretically rigorous and practical introduction to nonlinear control design. The convex optimization approach, applied to good effect in linear systems, is extended to the nonlinear case using the new dynamic surface control (DSC) algorithm developed by Hedrick and his co-author Dr. Bongsob Song. A variety of problems including DSC design, output feedback, input saturation and fault tolerant control are considered. The inclusion of applications material demonstrates the real significance of the DSC algorithm, which is robust and easy to use, for nonlinear systems with uncertainty in automotive and robotic applications.

Hedrick has been awarded a number of honors including, the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control Best Paper Award in 1983 and 2001, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ (IEEE) Transactions on Control Systems Technology's Outstanding Paper Award (1998), and the American Automatic Control Council’s O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award (2003). He was awarded ASME’s 2006 Rufus Oldenburger Medal which recognizes significant contributions and outstanding achievements in the field of automatic control. In 2009, Hedrick presented the ASME Nyquist Lecture.

Hedrick has presented lectures for the mechanical engineering department’s Fowler Distinguished Lecture Series, as well as the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) Eminent Scholar Lecture Series.

“Texas A&M is a very exciting place to be right now,” said Hedrick. “The Chancellor’s Research Initiative in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle systems is bringing together a multi-disciplinary team to conduct research in these areas. I am very happy to be part of this team and I look forward to working with the faculty and students of Texas A&M.”