Education

  • Ph.D., Electrical & Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

  • M.S.E., Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

  • M.S., Electrical & Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University

  • B.E. with Honors, Electrical Engineering, Lebanese American University

Research Interests

  • Cyber-physical systems

  • Autonomous vehicles

  • Navigation systems

  • Estimation theory

  • Intelligent transportation systems

  • Cognitive and software-defined radio

Short Bio

Prof. Zak Kassas is an Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Director of the Autonomous Systems Perception, Intelligence, and Navigation (ASPIN) Laboratory. He is also Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Center: CARMEN (Center for Automated Vehicles Research with Multimodal AssurEd Navigation), focusing on navigation resiliency and security of highly automated transportation systems. Prior to joining UCI, he was an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

He received a B.E. in Electrical Engineering (EE) from the Lebanese American University (LAU), an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) from The Ohio State University (OSU), and an M.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering (AE) and a Ph.D. in (ECE) from The University of Texas at Austin (UT). He has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, 9 magazine articles, 3 invited book chapters, and 16 U.S. patents, in the areas of navigation systems, autonomous vehicles, cognitive and software-defined radio, signal processing, and control systems.

Prof. Kassas is a recipient of the 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award for his work on “Situational Awareness Strategies for Autonomous Systems in Dynamic Uncertain Environments;” 2019 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) for his work on “I Hear, Therefore I Know Where I Am: Exploiting Signals of Opportunity for Robust and Accurate Navigation in GPS-Denied Environments;” and 2022 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) for his work on “Dynamic Data Driven C-SPAN: Cognitive Sensing, Perception, Autonomy, and Navigation.” He is also recipient of the 2018 IEEE Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society (AESS) Walter Fried Award, given in “recognition of an individual who has made a substantial contribution to the technology of navigation and positioning equipment, systems, or practices;” 2018 Institute of Navigation (ION) Samuel Burka Award, given in “recognition of the best paper published in NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation;” 2019 ION Col. Thomas Thurlow Award, given in “recognition of foundational work in the theory and practice of exploiting signals of opportunity for accurate and reliable positioning, navigation and timing;” 2020 IEEE Signal Processing Society video contest for beamforming research Grand Prize; and more than 20 best paper/paper presentation awards. His students have won several awards, including two Best Ph.D. Dissertation awards (from IEEE and ION); two USDOT Graduate Student of the Year awards; and more than 20 best paper, student paper, and paper presentation awards.

Since starting his academic career in 2014, his research has attracted more than $10 million in competitive federal grants and research partnerships. His research has been supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), US Department of Transportation (USDOT), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Sandia National Laboratories, among others.

Prof. Kassas is a Senior Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles (T-IV) and Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (TAES) and the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (T-ITS) and was a Guest Editor of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine (ITSM). He was/is Program Chair of the 2020/2023 IEEE/ION Position, Location, and Navigation Symposium (PLANS), and he organized the inaugural 2018 Institute of Navigation (ION) Cognizant Autonomous Systems for Safety Critical Applications (CASSCA) Conference and was General Chair of the 2019 ION (CASSCA). He served on the ION Council from 2018-2020. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and Vice Chair of the IEEE Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society (AESS) Navigation Systems Panel. He was involved in organizing numerous conferences, workshops, and special sessions at IEEE/ION PLANS, IEEE VTC, IEEE ICASSP, IEEE ITSC, ACC, FUSION, ION GNSS+, and ION ITM.

Prior to starting his academic career, he was a research and development engineer with the Control Design and Dynamical Systems Simulation Group at National Instruments Corp. (NI), where he contributed to the full-development cycle (research, implementation, and testing) of six major and minor releases of the following software: LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, LabVIEW System Identification Toolkit, and LabVIEW PID and Fuzzy Logic Toolkit. The software he developed was multi-platform, spanning off-line design and simulation and real-time (RT) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) deployment.