Darbha named Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow

Swaroop DarbhaDr. Swaroop Darbha, professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been elevated to the status of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow.

Darbha was recognized for his contributions to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and autonomous vehicles. He has worked on various aspects of ITS, and is widely recognized for his pioneering contributions to vehicle platooning in Automated Highway Systems, traffic flow and safety modeling with autonomous vehicles, and for truck brake diagnostics. One focus of his work is on string stability of vehicle platoons.

“String instabilities lead to pileups—a commonly occurring incident and a result of how much preview information each vehicle has,” Darbha said. “I have introduced singular and regular perturbation methods to analyze and design automatic vehicle following controllers and derive results, which are intuitive and of practical significance.”

His work on stochastic control of Unmanned Vehicle Systems has also been implemented successfully on flight tests by the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.

“The motion planning work that I’ve done in 2000 was instrumental in getting them started on Unmanned Vehicle Systems simulations,” Darbha said.

At Texas A&M, Darbha’s research interests include advanced vehicular control and diagnostic systems, motion planning and control of unmanned vehicles, decision making under uncertainty, and fixed structure controller synthesis.

“ITS has had a positive impact on society; for example, consider driver assist systems and Variable Message Signs,” Darbha said. “Even if autonomous driving may not be a reality, the focus on enabling communication between vehicles and infrastructure is expected to enhance mobility and safety.”

Each year the IEEE Fellow Committee reviews the work of its members for elevation to IEEE Fellow. Less than 0.1 percent of voting members are selected annually for this member grade elevation, which is the highest grade of membership within the institute.

“You bring honor to yourself and to IEEE by your achievements,” said Karen Bartleson, 2017 IEEE president and CEO, in the announcement of Darbha’s elevation.

Looking to the future, Darbha said he would next like to develop methodologies for assessing safety and addressing communication between vehicles to improve mobility and safety.

“I am working on developing techniques for quantifying the benefits of traffic safety due to vehicle-to-vehicle communication, understanding  how imperfect communication affects mobility and safety and resuming my work on diagnostic systems for air brakes in trucks.”