2012 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. Yunqian Ma

Citation: For contributions to the design, development, and technical leadership of the enhanced Personal Inertial Navigation System (ePINS) and its application for soldiers, first responders, and other personal navigation systems.


Dr. Yunqian Ma is the program manager and principal investigator of the Honeywell next generation personal navigation system product. He led the team to develop an enhanced Personal Inertial Navigation System solution (ePINS), a breakthrough in personal navigation technology.

Dr. Ma invented a wavelet-based human motion classification/motion model. This human motion model technology is used in several of personal navigation systems, including the ePINS system, the US DHS Geo-spatial Location Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders program. Dr. Ma's work in personal navigation has had a large impact on the commercial application of MEMS inertial sensors, and the personal navigation software that provides accurate position information for first responders, soldiers and other personnel in locations where GPS is unavailable.

As the program manager and principal investigator of Honeywell GPS denied navigation program, Dr. Ma developed technologies which enable accurate navigation using inertial, electro-optical, Lidar, radar sensors. Dr. Ma led the team that developed the collaborative navigation algorithms, terrain navigation, and low SWaP system capable of navigation sensor processing. These technologies comprise the fundamental technologies for personal, ground vehicle, aircraft, UAV, and space navigation.

Dr. Ma has also invented non-geometric landmarks for the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), which extends the existing geometric landmark SLAM method; an evidence grid representation based navigation algorithm, which uses synthetic vision for navigation; and an estimation filter called Multiple Model Estimation (IEEE Trans.) appropriate for real-life applications in navigation when the sensor measurements are corrupted by the structured errors.

Dr. Yunqian Ma earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at University of Minnesota, Twin cities, a Master of Engineer in Pattern Recognition and Intelligent Systems at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and bachelor degrees in Automatic Control in School of Electrical Engineering, and Technical Economics in School of Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has published more than 60 refereed journal and conference papers; holds 45 patent awards applications in the area of industrial applications of navigation, surveillance, sensor fusion and communication; Dr. Ma holds the program management professional certification.