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Mechanical engineering grad receives prestigious ION Early Achievement Award

By Virginia Speirs

Published: Jun 9, 2022 10:00:00 AM

A representation of Leidos' vision-based navigation system Assured Data Engine for Positioning and Timing (ADEPT), which is powered by an algorithm developed by Jonathan "JR" Ryan. A representation of Leidos' vision-based navigation system Assured Data Engine for Positioning and Timing (ADEPT), which is powered by an algorithm developed by Jonathan "JR" Ryan.

Auburn alumnus Jonathan “JR” Ryan recently received the Per Enge Early Achievement Award from the Institute of Navigation.

Ryan, who earned bachelor’s (’08), master’s (’11) and doctorate (’16) degrees in mechanical engineering, was awarded for his work on a real-time aerial vision-based navigation algorithm for Leidos, an American defense, aviation, information technology and biomedical research company.

Ryan said the algorithm is essentially a “backup” to GPS navigation systems for military and flight purposes, allowing an accurate way to determine location even if GPS capabilities are compromised during military operations.  

“There should never have to be an aborted mission just because of GPS failure,” Ryan said. “GPS is the gold standard for navigation, but if it fails for one reason or another, our guys should have more options than to just go home.”

Ryan conducted much of his research at Auburn in the GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory, or GAVLAB, which focuses on the control of autonomous vehicles using GPS and INS sensors for purposes such as navigation and sensor processing; vehicle dynamics and controls; and autonomous vehicle technology.

“The award, to me, was just an enormous honor,” Ryan said. “The GAVLAB got me started in this field, both in terms of giving me the technical foundation doing research for both my master’s and my doctorate degrees. It got me into this specialization, as well as got me really excited for this field. I was able to walk in the door at Leidos with a ton of experience already, all thanks to the GAVLAB.”  

The purpose of the Per Enge Early Achievement Award is to recognize individuals for outstanding achievement related to the art and science of positioning, navigation, or timing early their careers. 

“Jonathan was an NSF GRA Fellow while at Auburn, worked on algorithms for Ford, and then pursued adaptive model navigation algorithms as part of a DARPA program known as ASPN with Leidos who he later joined full time,” said GAVLAB Director David Bevly, the Bill and Lana McNair Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering. “To have one of our Auburn graduates, and more specifically a GAVLAB alumnus, be recognized with the young achievement award from ION, speaks volumes of the talent that comes out of the GAVLAB.”

 

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson, jdh0123@auburn.edu, 334-844-3591

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