U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Clara Dahill-Baue was selected by her alma mater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to represent the institute internationally at the MIT Portugal Conference held September 2022. The conference highlighted research projects which focused on space and ocean engineering applications. Dahill, who graduated from MIT in August 2022 with a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering, was one of only four MIT students selected to present her thesis at the conference.
While at MIT, Dahill completed a fellowship with the Ocean Engineering Center and Multidisciplinary Simulation, Estimation and Assimilation Systems (MSEAS) lab. The MSEAS lab uses computer simulations and data modeling for research, security, and search and rescue applications while Coast Guard, Navy, and civilian students use the laboratory capabilities to solve real-world problems. It is within this lab that Dahill identified her thesis research topic: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) path planning.
Dahill used ocean current data to create the fastest paths for research data collection. “This research relied heavily on both programming and my experience as an underway Officer of the Deck, taking environmental factors and heading correction angles into account to travel efficiently through dynamic ocean environments,” Dahill said. “For my own professional development, this research was a great opportunity to solidify my Ocean Engineering education and gain programming skills to use for ocean data modelling.”
While this research is currently used for scientific data collection purposes only, it is Dahill’s goal that her AUV research in the MSEAS lab will eventually partner with the Coast Guard Commandant’s Unmanned Systems Team to bring these path planning methods to the service’s autonomous vehicles to improve the service’s multi-mission capabilities.
Dahill is currently assigned as the Public Works Officer at Coast Guard Base Detachment Borinquen.