During his MISTI-Australia experience, Zach conducted research to enhance the capabilities of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), a laboratory at the University of Sydney. Without risking human life onboard, AUVs help us to unlock the secrets of the ocean and, ultimately, build a better world.
Specifically, Zach’s research project revolved around applying novel machine learning techniques to AUV sonar data to generate a bathymetry prediction tool. Such a tool is useful because it increases the fidelity of an AUV’s perception of the environment, thus increasing both functionality and user confidence. To accomplish this, Zach designed and built a machine learning architecture from scratch to meet the constraints of the problem.
Outside of his research, Zach enjoyed living as a true Sydney-sider. He enjoyed making friends with locals, exploring the beauty of Sydney including the beaches of Manly and the stunning Blue Mountains, and experimenting with Australian cuisine. Through his MISTI experience in Sydney, Zach has acquired a broader perspective of the world and fostered a desire to solve problems on a global scale.