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.

See our FY18 Annual Report here.

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


Brian Bingham 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.

Deputy Directors

Mara Orescanin is an Assistant 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.

Leo Blanken is an associate professor in the Defense Analysis Department at the Naval Postgraduate School, where his work focuses on special operations and military innovation. He is the author of Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and is co-editor of Assessing War: The Challenge of Measuring Success and Failure (Georgetown University Press, 2015). Leo collects and DJs rare soul and funk records from the 1960s."

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.


Fast Facts

Community of Interest members  


Research Projects


Seed Funding distributed


NPS Theses & Dissertations


NPS Student Trips


Concept Generation Workshops


Technical Symposia


Research Fairs & Expos


Seminars & Lectures


Panel Discussions


Monthly Meeting Presentations


Papers & Presentations


Concepts Generated


Annual Reports

Annual Reports

CRUSER annual reports, available beginning with FY11, include a summary of activities for the year as well as seeded research project summaries. These reports, all processed as NPS Technical Reports, are available through the NPS Dudley Knox Library.



Who We Work With

COI Members Type

Who We Work WIth Military