Brendan Englot

Brendan Englot
Photo: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL photographer

Where did you grow up:

In Queens, New York.

What was your academic path before coming to grad school at MIT?

Undergraduate study at MIT in Mechanical Engineering.

What did you want to be when you were younger? Is that still an interest of yours?

First a marine biologist, then a molecular biologist, and then, after getting bored with protein assays, an engineer.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?

It was only after my sophomore year at MIT that I experienced my first departure from the Eastern Time Zone.

What department are you currently working in, and when did you start there?

Mechanical Engineering, technically having started five years ago, as a freshman.

What are you working on and why are you passionate about it?

I am working on estimation and control in the context of enabling an underwater vehicle to perform an autonomous ship hull inspection. I am passionate about it because it's another great opportunity to for a robot to step in and perform a dangerous job that's currently performed by humans.

What is your favorite thing about working at CSAIL?

I love the extensive network of resources and also the chance meetings that occur when people of so many different interests and backgrounds are in close proximity to one another.

What effect do you think your area of work will have on the world in the next decade?

Hopefully it will advance the progress of a movement towards harbors that are fully instrumented, both for security and also for environmental monitoring. Of course, unlike the cumbersome security of an airport, the harbor will be regulated by a network of autonomous vehicles that will hopefully perform their job much faster.

What are your future plans?

After spending a number of years working from within MIT and collaborating with the companies that develop the cool technology performing the autonomous hull surveys, perhaps I will switch sides and work on the development of the technology firsthand.

What advice would you give a prospective CSAIL graduate student?

In order to find a research topic that really gets you excited, listen, read, and absorb as much as you can while you still have the time to aim your research trajectory.