Daniel Duran

Senior Research Associate

Daniel comes originally, from the Canary Islands, Spain.

Daniel obtained his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Astronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU Daytona Beach Campus). He achieved maximum honors at ERAU. In the process he also obtained a minor in Computer Science and Mathematics. Daniel became interested in research early on his academic career. During his freshman year he begun working for ERAU’s Space Physics Research Laboratories (SPRL) under the supervision of Dr. Irfan Azeem, Dr. Gulamabas Sivjee and Dr. Katariina Nykyri. At SPRL he performed research on high altitude cusp aurora formations and their relationship to the turbulent wave activity.

On his sophomore year he became heavily involved in Robotics and Unmanned Systems. At the end of his sophomore year he had converted his dorm room into a robotic-controlled room that used fingerprint scanners and facial recognition algorithms to open and close doors. At ERAU he worked under the supervision of Dr. Charles Reinholtz and Dr. Timothy Wilson. He became so involved in ERAU’s Unmanned Systems Laboratories that, on his sophomore year, he started the first ERAU Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Team. He served five years as team leader for the AUV team. In doing so, not only he contributed in establishing important industry connections, but also helped making ERAU the first university in the world to compete in all five college robotics competitions from the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). He developed the mechanical and software design of four different fully functional AUV platforms.

Daniel also obtained his M.S. in Software Engineering from ERAU. During his M.S. he became manager of ERAU’s Unmanned Systems laboratories and worked very closely with the different unmanned systems teams at ERAU. During this period he performed extensive research on laser-based optical range finder systems (LRFs). This research included the safety aspects of the LRF systems on the automotive industry (i.e. self-driving cars, lane departure detection, best software safety practices etc.) and concluded with the development of a fully functional 2D/3D LASER scanner alternative based on optical triangulation which he presented for his M.S. thesis in 2013.

During M.S. he was also software team leader and co-founder of ERAU’s UAV Carabo team, competing on AUVSI’s Unmanned Aerial Systems competition (UAS). Daniel implemented highly adaptable computer vision algorithms used to autonomously detect downed human pilots on the Australian outback from high altitudes during flight. He also designed and built a GPS-guided payload system used to deliver an emergency response payload to the pilots autonomously.

Daniel begun working as an intern for IHMC on 2011. He returned every year until he finally graduated from his Masters in 2013 becoming a Research Associate at IHMC. During all those years Daniel was involved in many different projects and areas including artificial intelligence, humanoid bipedal walking, humanoid upper body stabilization, robotic manipulation, helicopter noise reduction using intelligent flight paths and micro-air-vehicle development. In 2013, Daniel was part of IHMC’s DARPA Robotics Challenge team.