What We Do

CRUSER fulfills its chartered mission by:

  • Hosting concept generation / innovation workshops and events focused on the naval application of unmanned autonomous systems
  • Funding research, experimentation, and student support critical to shaping NPS student education and continued development of relevant faculty expertise.
  • Developing panels and Robo-ethics seminars tailored to a variety of audiences
  • Conducting monthly web broadcast meetings and seminars highlighting current research by NPS faculty and students as well as CPI members
  • Sourcing an on campus "Maker Space" open to all academic disciplines to integrate and advance robotics and unmanned systems research and education
  • Managing a community of interest of 3,000+ members to foster communication and collaboration across DoD, industry and academia.

CRUSER activities are structured along Innovation Threads starting with a concept generation workshop, through concept development, prototyping, and finally testing – most often in a field environment. Each Innovation Thread spans two years and reflects gaps and opportunities for The Fleet in robotics and autonomy.


Leadership Bios


Mara Orescanin is an Associate Professor in the Oceanography Department at the Naval Postgraduate School where she researches physical processes in the coastal ocean.  Dr. Orescanin received her PhD in 2015 in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.  Before arriving at NPS in 2016, Dr. Orescanin worked in environmental consulting specializing in hydrodynamic modeling of coastal systems, including a flood risk assessment for the City of Boston.  Since arriving at NPS, Dr. Orescanin has focused on integrating unmanned systems and machine learning into observations of small coastal rivers.

Deputy Director 

Jessica Herman is a Professor of the Practice in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the Naval Postgraduate School.  She holds M.S. degrees in Computer Science (Naval Postgraduate School, 2000) and Robotics Engineering (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2021).  After a career as a Naval Aviator and Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer with a focus on engineering, test, and evaluation of both piloted aircraft and autonomous systems, Ms. Herman joined the NPS faculty in 2021.  Her teaching and research interests center on the interdisciplinary aspects of autonomous system design, development, and deployment.

Deputy Director 

Vladimir Dobrokhodov is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. He earned his M.Sc. degrees in Astronautical Engineering (1991) and in Operations Research (1993) from the Moscow State Aviation Institute and the Air Force Engineering Academy (AFEA), respectively. In 1999, he earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the AFEA of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2001, he was awarded the US National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship to work at the NPS, and in 2004, he joined the NPS as a faculty member. His research and teaching focus on cooperative control of UAVs, distributed trajectory optimization, energy-aware autonomy, and the design and implementation of advanced GNC algorithms onboard unmanned aerial vehicles.

Associate Director

Carl Oros is an Assistant Professor in the Information Sciences Department.  Carl is a retired Marine Corps assault support helicopter pilot and holds Master degrees from the USMC Command & Staff College (MMS) and the Naval Postgraduate School (Information Tech. Mgmt).  Prior to retiring in 2009, he served as Military Faculty in the IS Dept. (2004-2009) and ultimately as the NPS Senior Marine Corps Representative (2007-2009).  Since 2003, Carl has been actively engaged in tactical networking and command & control related research and has served as the Principle Investigator for several USMC funded research projects as Co-Investigator/Co-Researcher for the Joint Interagency Field Experimentation (JIFX) program. 

Operations Manager

Jean Ferreira is a Program Manager in the Information Sciences Department. Jean brings 30 years of experience providing business, fiscal, technical and operational management to government programs and private business enterprises to the position of Operations Manager for both the CRUSER and Field Experimentation research programs. She provides financial management and the development/execution of acquisition strategies to meet the mission of the funded research. She holds degrees in Biology, Chemistry and a Masters in Botany. Prior to her time with NPS, she provided policy and management strategy development and execution of research/restoration projects for the preservation and management of CA native flora on public and private lands.

Emeritus CRUSER Directors

Dr. Brian Bingham (2019-2022) is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.  Dr. Bingham received his PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT in 2003.  After a brief stint at the Ocean Institute in California, he was appointed to a post-doctoral position at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Deep Submergence Lab.  Dr. Bingham has served as a member of the faculty at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering from 2005-2009 and the University of Hawaii at Manoa from 2009-2015.  His research is on innovative tools for exploring, understanding and protecting the marine environment.  This work includes projects on underwater navigation, autonomous vehicles and sensor integration. 

Dr. Raymond Buettner (2013 - 2018)

CAPT Jeffrey Kline, USN, Ret. (2012)


Who We Work With