Control of Over- and Under- Actuated Unmanned Vehicles

Modified Sandshark AUV operating in the URI Ocean Engineering Towing Tank (Sondergeld, 2022)

Snyder, W., Roman, C., Licht, S. Hybrid actuation with complementary allocation for depth control of a Lagrangian sea-floor imaging platform. J Field Robotics. 2018; 35: 330– 344.

Soft Robotic Grippers for Ocean Exploration

Low Pressure Hydraulic Soft Robotic Actuators (top-Alex Yin, 2022. bottom-Michael Rock, 2021)

Licht, S., Collins, E., Lopes Mendes, M., and Baxter, C.B.P. Stronger at Depth: Jamming Grippers as Deep Sea Sampling Tools. Soft Robotics. Dec 2017.305-316. [URI Library .pdf]

Technology Development for Aerial Characterization of Evolving Shorelines

Orthomosaics and Elevation Maps of Rose Larissa Beach Living Shoreline Project (Photos – The Nature Conservancy, 2018. Reconstructions – Rose Shayer, 2019)

Ultra Lightweight Autonomous Surface Vehicles

Lightweight Autonomous Shallow Water Bathymetry Mapper (Gilboa, 2022)

K. D. von Ellenrieder, H. C. Henninger and S. Licht, “Dynamic modelling and control of a portable USV for bathymetric survey,” Global Oceans 2020: Singapore – U.S. Gulf Coast, 2020, pp. 1-7,
doi: 10.1109/IEEECONF38699.2020.9389412.


Principal Investigator

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Stephen Licht, Associate Professor of Ocean Engineering

Dr. Licht received his Ph.D. in Oceanographic and Mechanical Engineering in 2008 from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. Prior to joining the URI faculty, he was a Senior Research Scientist with the Maritime Research Group at iRobot, a Senior Robotics Engineer with Vecna Robotics, and a Research Engineer at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. He is currently a Research Affiliate with the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering, and served as Visiting Faculty in the Facultà di Scienze e Technolgie della Libera Università di Bolzano from 2019-2020.

Graduate Research Assistants

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Alexei Sondergeld, PhD Candidate, Ocean Engineering

 I am a Ph.D student in Ocean Engineering from Canton, Connecticut. I graduated from University of Connecticut with a BS in mechanical engineering and a minor in math, and Boston University with an MS in mechanical engineering and a specialization in Dynamics, Systems, and Controls. My research is in the area of autonomous underwater vehicle control. In my free time, I enjoy sculling, mountain biking, hiking, and building 1/32 scale model vessels for testing in local water bodies.

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Eric Rupert, PhD Candidate, Ocean Engineering

Eric is a Ph.D. student researching underwater grippers and data driven analysis. Eric enjoys SCUBA diving, hiking with his dog, and exploring local food scenes.

Benjamin Rahming, Ocean Engineering

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Michael Antonucci, Ocean Engineering

Michael is a rising senior Ocean Engineering student from Los Angeles, California. He is interested in underwater robotics and is a member of URI’s Hydrobotics Club where he has done work with the design, fabrication, and testing of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle. Outside of academic work, Michael enjoys outdoor activities, running, cycling, and basketball.

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David Ofori, Computer Engineering

Gregory Bales, Ocean Engineering and Marine Biology

Summer Associates

Nathan Gonzalez, Gordon College

Currently an undergraduate student studying Physics at Gordon College, Nathan is excited by researching physical phenomena and engineering solutions. Beyond his undergraduate years, Nathan hopes to attend graduate school and eventually conduct research. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, running, and rock climbing.

Ashley Hutchins, Community College of Rhode Island

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Ashley is a returning University of Rhode Island student who is passionate about the ocean, cooking, and softball.  After completing undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology and Ocean Engineering, Ashley intends to apply to graduate school to further her knowledge of Ocean Engineering and pursue a career in research.

Former Research Assistants

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Roy Gilboa, Ocean Engineering (M.S. 2022)

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Michael Rock, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2021, M.S. 2022)

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Jessica McLaughlin, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2022)

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David Nadeau, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2022)

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Rose Shayer, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2021)

Letti Kittel, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2019)
Waymo, San Francisco, CA

Marissa Torres, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2017, M.S. 2019)
US Army Corp of Engineers Cold Regions Research Lab, Hanover, NH

Ian McElroy, Ocean Engineering (B.S. 2019, M.S. 2020), French (B.A. 2019)
FORSSEA Robotics, Paris, France

George Badlissi, Ocean Engineering, B.S (NUWC-Newport)
Everett Collins, Ocean Engineering, B.S. (NUWC-Newport)
Samuel Rauworth, Ocean Engineering, M.S. 2015 (Martin Defense Group)
Paulstephen Chierico, Ocean Engineering, M.S. (United States Navy)
Dane Elles, Ocean Engineering, M.S. (United States Navy)
Matthew Perkins, Ocean Engineering, M.S, PhD. (NUWC-Newport)

URI Profile

Stephen Licht URI Profile

Stephen Licht URI Research Profile

Friends of the Lab

Brennan Phillips

Christopher Roman

Christopher Baxter

Fabio Bruno

Karl von Ellenrieder

Bridget Buxton

Paolo Stegagno

Ocean Exploration Trust

OceanGate Inc.


Roger Williams Middle School

Union Fire District Wakefield Station