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Hagler Institute announces death of Karl Hedrick, pioneer in automated transportation and 2015-16 Faculty Fellow

Dr. J Karl Hedrick

COLLEGE STATION – The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University regrets to announce the death of Karl Hedrick, a Faculty Fellow in the Class of 2015-16. Hedrick died on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Carlyle. He was 72.

No other details were immediately available.

Hedrick was renowned internationally for his developments in non-linear control theory and its applications to transportation, including automated highway systems, power train controls, embedded software design, formation flight of autonomous vehicles and active suspension systems.

 “The nation has lost a great innovator and one who helped design the future of automated travel,” said John L. Junkins, founding director of the Hagler Institute. “In addition, the Institute has lost a great friend and Texas A&M has lost a brilliant addition to our faculty.”

When Hedrick was selected as a Faculty Fellow in 2015, he was the holder of the James Marshall Wells Academic Chair and a professor of mechanical engineering in the College Of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

During his term as a Faculty Fellow, Hedrick worked with faculty-researchers and graduate students in the College of Engineering and with researchers at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

At the completion of his term, Hedrick accepted a position at Texas A&M and was scheduled to join the faculty during summer 2016. He postponed his move to summer 2017, due to his illness.  

Hedrick earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics at the University of Michigan in 1966. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Stanford University in 1970 and 1971, respectively.

He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Society of Automotive Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics.  He won numerous prestigious awards and wrote two books and more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles.

In addition to his groundbreaking work in nonlinear control theory, Hedrick also made important contributions to nonlinear estimation and control.