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Claire Tomlin is a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, where she holds the Charles A. Desoer Chair in Engineering. She was assistant, associate, and full professor at Stanford (1998–2007) and joined Berkeley in 2005. She has been an affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Life Sciences Division since January 2012. She works in hybrid systems and control, with applications to air traffic and unmanned air vehicle systems, robotics, energy, and biology.
Dr. Tomlin pioneered methods for computing the reachable set to encompass all behaviors of a hybrid system, which makes it possible to verify that the system stays within a desired safe range of operation and to design controllers to satisfy constraints. She has applied these methods to collision avoidance control for multiple aircraft, and to the analysis of switched control protocols in avionics and embedded controllers in aircraft.
Her work has been tested in simulation and UAV test flights, and applied to and flown on two large commercial platforms: (1) Boeing aircraft: Her method was used to compute collision zones for two aircraft paired approaches, and was flown on a Boeing T-33 test aircraft, flying close to a piloted F-15. The F-15 pilot flew “blunders” into the path of the T-33, which used Tomlin’s algorithm to avoid collision. (2) Driven on Scania trucks: Dr. Tomlin’s method was used to derive a minimum safe distance between transport trucks driving in high-speed platoons for fuel savings, and revealed that the relative distance used today can be reduced significantly with this automation. Her work is also being considered for application in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM).
Dr. Tomlin is a MacArthur Foundation, IEEE, and AIMBE fellow. She has received the Donald P. Eckman Award of the American Automatic Control Council in 2003, the Tage Erlander Guest Professorship of the Swedish Research Council in 2009, an honorary doctorate from KTH in 2016, and in 2017 the IEEE Transportation Technologies Award.