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Spotlight on Joshua VanderHook - of Carp and Robots

Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013

Josh's doctoral research involves designing deployment schemes for autonomous watercraft to monitor lakes for invasive carp, as an alternative to more controversial methods such as poisoning or quarantining waterways. Invasive carp dominate local ecosystems, overwhelming native fish, destroying plant life, and causing serious damage to water quality.  

Under the guidance of Dr. Volkan Isler at the University of Minnesota, Josh's research focuses on two major components: algorithm design and large-scale field testing as a scaleable alternative to the labor-and cost-intensive approach of tagging and netting carp.

Josh and his advisor expect robots to enable scalability.  Josh comments, "What separates these exciting new opportunities from past applications of robotics is their unstructured nature: Inside we can control the environment; outside, we cannot. What drives my research is the development of planning algorithms to enable mobile robots to work in unpredictable environments. It is a privilege to work on cutting-edge research which has a very useful application in my own community."