Kassas recognized with Institute of Navigation Fellow Membership

Posted: February 3, 2023
Professor Zak Kassas (left) with Frank Van Diggelen, President of ION
Professor Zak Kassas (left) with Frank Van Diggelen, President of ION

In recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to the theory and application of navigation with terrestrial and extraterrestrial signals of opportunity, and for dedicated national leadership and scientific service, Zak Kassas has been elected to the Institute of Navigation (ION) 2023 Fellow Membership.

Kassas is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Center for Automated Vehicles Research with Multimodal Assured Navigation. He is an internationally recognized expert of PNT in GNSS-denied environments by exploiting terrestrial and extraterrestrial signals of opportunity (SOPs).

Kassas has made breakthrough contributions that proved SOPs could be practically exploited for sustained, high-accuracy, real-world PNT, achieving the highest levels of accuracy to date: submeter- and meter-level accuracy on aerial vehicles and ground vehicles, respectively, including navigation in GPS-jammed environments and on US Air Force high-altitude aircraft.

He and his team were the first to develop a comprehensive approach to extract accurate PNT information from 4G and 5G signals, a tightly-coupled SOP-aided inertial navigation system framework for robust and accurate navigation in a radio simultaneous localization and mapping fashion and a simultaneous tracking and navigation framework to exploit multi-constellation low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite signals. They also developed a revolutionary framework for SOPs with unknown signal structure, termed cognitive opportunistic navigation, leading to the first ever published results of exploiting unknown Starlink LEO signals for PNT, achieving meter-level positioning.

Kassas is the fourth Ohio State faculty member to receive this recognition. Professors Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, Jiti Gupta, and Charles Toth have also received this recognition.

Election to Fellow membership recognizes sustained professional accomplishments that have significantly contributed to the advancement of the arts and sciences of Positioning, Navigation and/or Timing (PNT) in the areas of technology, management, practice or teaching and a demonstrated and sustained impact on the PNT community. Fellows have maintained an observable presence in the ION community over the long term, including contributions to ION programs and publications. Similar to IEEE, the number of ION Fellow promotions every year cannot exceed 0.1% of the total number of members. 

"I'm honored to join highly esteemed Fellow colleagues in the Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) community," said Kassas. "I'm grateful to my undergraduate advisor Professor Samer Saab, MS advisors Professors Umit Ozguner and Robert Bishop and PhD advisors Professors Todd Humphreys and Ari Arapostathis. I'm appreciative of the dedication and hard work of my ingenious students. I'm also appreciative of the generous support of my funding agencies: ONR, NSF, DOT, AFOSR, Sandia National Laboratories, and NIST.”