Hovakimyan receives 2015 SWE Achievement Award


Kim Gudeman

Professor Naira Hovakimyan
MechSE professor Naira Hovakimyan has received the Society of Women Engineers 2015 Achievement Award – the society’s highest honor. The award recognizes Hovakimyan’s significant contributions to mathematical control theory and its application in safety-critical systems.
The award will be presented at the WE15 Conference on October 23 in Nashville.
“It’s an incredible honor to be included among the very talented group of women who have won this award in the past,” Hovakimyan said. “This was a wonderful surprise.”
Hovakimyan is considered a leading expert in the field of control theory and engineering. She has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including the 2011 AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight award, 2014 Humboldt Prize and 2015 Engineering Council Outstanding Advising Award from Illinois.
Her L1 adaptive controller, which was tested by NASA on subscale commercial jet and by NPS on unmanned aerial vehicles, received attention from the press earlier this year after successful testing on a Learjet at Edwards Air Force Base --the first step in deploying the technology on commercial manned aircraft. She is currently working with a start-up company, IntelinAir, Inc., to commercialize the technology for various industries. The L1 adaptive controller also has been commercialized by Raymarine, Caterpillar and other companies.
Earlier this year, she was named the inaugural director of CSL’s Intelligent Robotics Lab, which seeks to create a new generation of UAVs and other robots that can seamlessly interact with humans. She is leading a group of more than a dozen experts in aerospace engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical science and engineering, and the social sciences who will explore technical and social challenges related to robots.
“We’re just beginning to touch the surface of what robots are capable of,” Hovakimyan said. “Our goal is to create a new class of robots that are highly intelligent and trusted/accepted by the public.”