BATT CAVE Electrifying Experts: Artur Wolek

Categories: General News

Artur Wolek’s dreams have long focused on robotics and unmanned systems. Where once he tinkered with and worked on mechatronics projects — those that unite the principles of mechanics, electronics and computing — as a hobby while growing up, he now calls BATT CAVE home for his research.

“I once made a pair of light-up morse code communicators and a remote-control car from scavenged parts,” Wolek said. Another time it was a tethered remote-control airplane made from balsa wood, Styrofoam, a small DC motor and a propeller. He even fired model rocket engines in his garage to measure thrust before launching them outdoors. 

Postdoctoral experience with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which came with opportunities to participate in field experiments that required spending time at sea, deepened Wolek’s early interest and expertise in unmanned underwater vehicles. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help develop motion planning and control algorithms for advanced underwater vehicles and work with a team of remarkable scientists, engineers and technicians,” he said.

Now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Wolek sees the vital intersection between unmanned vehicles and energy storage and power systems. His goal in regard to batteries is to design control laws that consider the energy needs of vehicles as they are deployed and to optimize their efficiency and endurance. Within BATT CAVE, Wolek is able to focus on aerial and marine robotic systems, including fixed-wing aircraft and multicopters as well as underwater vehicles and unmanned boats.