Principal Investigator and Autonomy Researcher
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Chad Hawthorne is a principal investigator and autonomy researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. He has over 15 years experience in developing autonomy software for DoD applications in unmanned ground, sea, and air domains. He began his career developing multi-vehicle control, i.e. swarming, behaviors for DoD applications. His early work demonstrated the ability of multiple autonomous unmanned systems to perform militarily relevant missions on unmanned air and ground platforms. In 2007 he began working on unmanned sea and undersea systems. Mr. Hawthorne recently served as the autonomy lead for both DARPA and Navy acquisition with a focus on test and evaluation of autonomy for unmanned sea vessels. In both capacities he worked closely with industry and government leaders to define autonomy standards that would allow for autonomous safe navigation for unmanned sea surface vessels. Finally, Mr. Hawthorne serves as the principal investigator for the OSD Range Adversarial Planning Tool (RAPT) effort. In that role he leads a team of 10 researchers to develop novel T&E approaches for autonomy software. The team’s stochastic optimization methods for identification of performance boundaries has gained traction in the DoD and offers to revolutionize how autonomy is tested by the Navy.