MIT appoints new director of Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems

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Sertac Karaman, an associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been appointed director of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), the longest continuously running laboratory at the academic institution. His appointment came into effect on July 1.

Karaman’s research interests encompass embedded systems and mobile robotics, while his recent research consisted of developing planning and control algorithms for autonomous vehicles and autonomy-enabled transportation systems.

“This is an extremely exciting time for LIDS, with the tremendous advances in automated decision-making systems and their deployment,” commented Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and the Henry Ellis Warren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “I am delighted to have Sertac in this leadership role with the college, as he looks to build on the storied 80-year history of LIDS and in leading the lab to exciting new breakthroughs.”

Karaman has worked on driverless cars, unpiloted aerial vehicles, distributed aerial surveillance systems, air traffic control algorithms, certification, and verification of control systems software. He was a member of an MIT team that in 2007 built a self-driving car and competed in the DARPA Urban Challenge. His previous experience with robotic platforms includes designing and developing an autonomous forklift and fully autonomous drones. In 2015, he co-founded Optimus Ride, an MIT-spinoff that develops self-driving vehicle technologies.

Karaman replaces John Tsitsiklis, who became the LIDS director in 2017 before stepping down in December 2020 to take a sabbatical. During this interim period, Eytan Modiano, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and associate director of LIDS, filled the role. 

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