December 2023

OES Society Awards (2023)

IEEE OES Awards Committees

The OES Awards Ceremony was held during the Tuesday Plenary at OCEANS 2023 Gulf Coast. We are honored to introduce the following 2023 OES award recipients.  Congratulations!

2023 Distinguished Technical Achievement Award: Gabriele Ferri

OES President Christopher Whitt introducing Gabriele Ferri, the Distinguished Technical Achievement Award recipient.

Gabriele Ferri is presented the Distinguished Technical Achievement Award (DTAA) for contribution to cooperative autonomy applied to marine robotic networks.  Since he was unable to attend the conference, he will receive the plaque at OCEANS 2024 Singapore.

The DTAA is bestowed upon an individual who has made exceptional fundamental or applied technical contributions to oceanic engineering. The award recognizes a single major invention or scientific contribution, or a distinguished series of contributions over a long period of time. Dr. Ferri’s work exemplifies this criterion through a distinguished series of contributions over a productive and impactful career. He has played a key role in the development and demonstration of cooperative autonomy solutions for marine heterogeneous robotic networks deployed in realistic and challenging underwater scenarios.

Throughout his career, he has deeply explored the synergies between autonomy, data fusion and cooperative robotics. He validated these concepts in many at-sea experimentations, demonstrating the benefits of robot decision-making with respect to pre-planned missions, traditionally adopted in the marine community due to their predictability. He designed iCADME, a task-oriented autonomy architecture to execute complex multi-robot, multi-task missions in underwater environments with communications limitations. He was also the project leader of HydroNet project, which developed a network of marine surface robots for environmental monitoring.

Dr. Ferri has significantly advanced cooperative robotics, with lasting contributions in data-driven strategies, environment-aware autonomy, data fusion, cooperative decision-making, and autonomy architectures for controlling complex heterogeneous marine robotic networks. Indeed, his most distinctive quality is his determination in tackling the challenges to their effective use posed by marine scenarios, such as underwater surveillance.

The research community has recognized his achievements, as also shown by his collaboration with MIT and several invited seminars, for example at NASA JPL.

His activity has also had a strong impact on the operational maritime community. His autonomy solutions and the iCADME architecture have been considered as an inspiration by different NATO Navies. His contributions have been seminal to the development of a common autonomy language for interoperability in NATO SCI 343 panel. This culminated with the demonstration at a multinational submarine search and rescue experiment during REPMUS21.

2023 Distinguished Service Award: Fausto Ferreira

OES President Christopher Whitt introducing Fausto Ferreira, the Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Fausto Ferreira is presented the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for valuable contributions and effective management across the entire spectrum of OES activities.  Since he was unable to attend the conference, he will receive the plaque at OCEANS 2024 Singapore.

Fausto’s journey with our society is inspiring. After volunteering in other robotics workshops in 2015, he became the Deputy Technical Director for an OES-sponsored marine robotics competitions in Europe, later serving as a judge in these events.

His commitment extended to organizing conferences, such as UCOMMS in 2018 and 2020, and the Breaking the Surface workshop’s Program Committee over several editions of BTS. In addition, Fausto contributed as Technical Co-chair for OCEANS 2021 San Diego-Porto, where he oversaw tutorials. He also played a vital role in finding European venues for OCEANS events and served as OES Liaison for the OCEANS 2023 Limerick conference.

In 2018, he was selected as one of the two inaugural Laureates for the OES Young Professional BOOST Program, which brings active volunteers into Society Leadership. He also became part of the Autonomous Marine Systems Technical Committee. Recently, he joined the Journal of Oceanic Engineering Editorial Board as an Associate Editor.

Fausto’s leadership grew as he joined the Administrative Committee in 2020. He served on the Society Governance Committee, and the OES Standards Committee. In 2021, Fausto took on the role of VP of Workshops and Symposia. As VP, Fausto has energized our Workshop and Symposia portfolio, and established a strong committee to guide events into the future.

Fausto Ferreira’s journey from workshop collaborator to VP of Workshops and Symposia is a testament to dedication and leadership within IEEE OES. His passion for oceanic engineering has inspired us all.

2023 Presidential Award: Bharath Kalyan

Bharath Kalyan receives the Presidential Award from OES President Christopher Whitt. The photo was taken by Chelsea Bladow.

Bharath Kalyan is presented the Presidential Award for being a long-time leader in the OES Singapore Chapter.  He served as Chair for the OES Singapore Chapter during 2020-21, and Vice-Chair in 2018-19, and 2022-23.

Bharath has been involved in the Singapore AUV Competition (SAUVC) since its inception in 2013 until today. He was Chair of SAUVC in 2019. He has always helped with SAUVC Chair transitions; continuing to move the event forward. He has played a significant role from the very first event back in 2013 to the point where his colleagues see him as one of the de facto owners of the event.

In addition to SAUVC, he has constantly been involved in Singapore Chapter events, OES Technology Committees, and involved in several OES conferences and symposia.

Currently, Bharath is the Chair for the Autonomous Marine Systems Technology Committee. He has been the General Co-Chair of AUV 2022 Symposium, Exhibit Chair for OCEANS 2020 Singapore (virtual) and for the upcoming OCEANS 2024 Singapore.

He served as a member of the OES Technical Program Sub-committee for Offshore Technology Conference Houston 2023 and is serving again for 2024. He has organized many technical talks and panels during various OES Singapore Chapter-related activities.

Bharath has always been at the forefront of organizing all OES Singapore chapter events (especially SAUVC) irrespective of his position – he is happy to just make sure everything runs smoothly. Bharath always helps bring people together and encourages people from various organizations to join IEEE OES.