Dr. Vaughan and his research group are working on a broad range of projects. A number of the projects are grounded in the theme of utilizing flexibility as a design advantage. Dr. Vaughan and his research group are developing concurrent design processes for combinations of feedback control systems, command generation methods, and the mechanical design objectives. The advanced controls systems developed by his group allow systems to be designed with much more flexibility than in the past. This means that systems can be designed that are lighter and more energy efficient, while having higher performance.
Another long range interest of Dr. Vaughan’s is better understanding the relationship between the human operator and the control system. Most systems in the world still need some form of human interaction. There are some initial results that suggest there are differences in the control-system compatibility with human operators, even for control systems whose “textbook” analysis is nearly identical. Understanding of this interaction is going to increase in importance as we continue to integrate semi-autonomous systems into society.