Zak Kassas

Zak Kassas

Ohio State University
IEEE Region
Region 2 (Eastern U.S.)
Technical Area
Avionics Systems, Navigation Systems, Space Systems

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Zak (Zaher) M. Kassas is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University and Director of the Autonomous Systems Perception, Intelligence, and Navigation (ASPIN) Laboratory. He is also Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Center: CARMEN (Center for Automated Vehicle Research with Multimodal AssurENavigation), focusing on navigation resiliency and security of highly automated transportation systems. He is an internationally recognized expert for his work in positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) in GNSS-denied and GNSS-challenged environments by exploiting ambient terrestrial and extraterrestrial signals of opportunity (SoPs). Dr. Kassas and his team convincingly demonstrated that PNT via SoPs is eminently practical and accurate for several important use cases: aerial and ground vehicles and pedestrians in indoor environments. Dr. Kassas and his team made several breakthrough contributions that proved SoPs could be practically exploited for high-accuracy, real-world PNT. They were the first to (1) develop a cognitive opportunistic navigation framework that successfully acquired, tracked, and deciphered unknown Starlink low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite reference signals; (2) develop a simultaneous tracking and navigation (STAN) framework that exploited multi-constellation LEO satellite signals (Starlink, Orbcomm, Iridum, and Globalstar) and demonstrated UAVs and ground vehicles navigating with this framework with meter-level accuracy; (3) develop a comprehensive approach to extract accurate PNT information from 4G long-term-evolution (LTE) and 5G signals; (4) develop a tightly-coupled SoP-aided inertial navigation system (INS) framework for robust and accurate navigation; (5) demonstrate high-altitude aircraft navigation and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) navigating at meter-level and submeter-level accuracy, respectively, exclusively with ambient cellular communications signals via sustained carrier-phase-based positioning.

Dr. Kassas is a recipient of the 2022 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) award, 2019 Office of Naval Research (ONR) YIP award, 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, 2018 IEEE AESS Walter Fried Award, 2018 Institute of Navigation (ION) Samuel Burka Award, and 2019 ION Col. Thomas Thurlow Award. He is a Senior Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles and an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems and the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. He is Program Chair of IEEE/ION Position, Location, and Navigation Symposium (PLANS) 2023, and he organized the inaugural Institute of Navigation (ION) Cognizant Autonomous Systems for Safety Critical Applications (CASSCA) Conference 2018 and was General Chair of ION CASSCA 2019. He was involved in organizing numerous conferences, workshops, and special sessions at IEEE/ION PLANS, ION GNSS+, ION ITM, IEEE VTC, IEEE ICASSP, IEEE ITSC, ACC, FUSION, and IFAC AAC. His research has been funded by ONR, NSF, DOT, NIST, Sandia National Laboratories, among others. His research interests include cyber-physical systems, estimation theory, navigation systems, autonomous vehicles, and intelligent transportation systems. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and Vice President of the IEEE AESS Navigation System Panel.

IEEE AESS Position History:
  • Present   Navigation Assoc Editor (TAES Technical Areas and Editors)
  • Present   Members (Navigations Systems Panel)
  • 2023-Present   Navigations Systems Panel Chair (Technical Operations Committee)
  • 2023-Present   Navigations Systems Panel Chair (Navigations Systems Panel)
  • Past   Vice-Chair (Navigations Systems Panel)
  • Recognitions:
  • 2023-2024 Distinguished Lecturer
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