Samuel “Sam” Coogan is the Demetrius T. Paris Junior Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering and holds a joint appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Coogan’s research focuses on developing tools that can be used to verify and control networked, cyber-physical systems such as autonomous transportation systems.
Coogan has looked at the impact of autonomous ground vehicles on network flows. He finds that depending on the rules used to route autonomous ground vehicles, traffic congestion and delays could actually become worse than they are today. Coogan envisions a future of autonomous ground transportation in which multiple independent companies provide control software for autonomous vehicles. “In this scenario, it will be important for us to have a “master controller” that can detect when individual controllers are not behaving according to behaviors we expect—this could be due to programming bugs in the software or hacking incidents,” Coogan explains. “My research focuses on developing algorithms that detect this abnormal behavior, provide corrective override guidance, and ultimately allow us to set formal guarantees on the safe operation of these vehicles.”