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FAU Awarded Research Grant to Explore Control Strategies for Unmanned Amphibious Vehicle

BOCA RATON, FL (May 25, 2011) – Karl von Ellenrieder, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of ocean and mechanical engineering within the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University, was recently awarded a $150,000 research grant from the Office of Naval Research to modify a vehicle that will be able to autonomously approach a beach from offshore, find a suitable path through the surf and make its way across the sand and onto hard ground.

“This project will make full use of the knowledge and skills, both theoretical and practical, that students gain from our curriculum,” said Von Ellenreider. “From a technical standpoint, the navigation and control of amphibious vehicles, which must operate in more than one kind of environment is very challenging and relatively new. We are hoping to make important contributions to the state of knowledge in a new area of research.”

Because of the substantial crossover between the guidance, navigation systems and control technology that will be required for the amphibious vehicle, an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) built by the ASV Student Competition Team at FAU will be used. The vehicle was put together by a group of graduate and undergraduate ocean engineering students who compete in the annual ASV competition. The prototype vehicle will be updated to include sensors and navigation systems to better analyze the dynamics of the vehicle and to develop control strategies for its operation both on land and in the water.

The work will be performed in the Hydrodynamics Lab at FAU’s SeaTech campus in Dania Beach, where the College’s Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering is located.

For more information, contact Marc Kozlin at 561-297-1399 or



Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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