Kaivalya Bakshi

Ph.D.A.E. 2018

What is your next adventure?

I will be working with GE Research as a controls systems research engineer. I'll be working on a plethora of applications, including core designs of robots and autonomous systems.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

It is one of the most interesting times to be a  control engineer in robotics. GE has a team working on drone delivery.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

I spent 8-9 months interning at Mitsubishi  Electric Research Labs [MERL] in Cambridge. There, I worked on larger scale control problems - the idea behind a flock of birds being able to fly in an agile fashion, without collisions. We have the same goal for fleets of autonomous cars. They don't want to sell autonomous cars to individuals. They want fleets. So I working on core research for control algorithms that would allow fleets to function safely.

Research wise, at Tech, I focused mainly on autonomous systems. It is a huge area with lots of sub areas, so I was really happy to work with Prof. Theodorou. He let me work with MERL, with students. He encouraged collaborations.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?

When I started my PhD. studies here, I was not certain of my goals, so my experience  here helped me to shape those goals. As an engineer, it's not good enough to go in with the intention of contributing to technology; you have to know what you want to contribute and work hard at it. The atmosphere at AE helped me to shape exactly what I want to do - large-scale stochastic control - because I talked to different professors, different students, different researchers. I went to ME, to Math, to ECE. That's how I learned about what Dr. Theodorou was doing. And that changed everything.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

Work with industry while researching, because academia has its own agenda - to push science- whereas industry has to rely on proven techniques. To give yourself the best exposure, try to do problems with whomever you can, on as many different topics as you are interested in. I had a great exposure at Tech. And I'd say that's what you should expect from a doctoral program, to give you more exposure. In the end, you will build depth as you find your niche.