Telema Harry is developing a next-generation control technology for navigation of High-Altitude Platform System.  

High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) has many real-life applications, such as wireless telecommunication, atmospheric and climate research, and near-space experiments. However, navigation and maintaining the HAPS at a particular geographical location for an extended period has been one of the major challenges of HAPS operation.

The traditional way of developing a control strategy for physical systems is first to develop a mathematical model of the physical system. But as we know, it is extremely difficult to develop an accurate mathematical model for some real-world engineering applications such as HAPS, mainly because of the difficulty in accurately estimating the prevailing atmospheric conditions due to strong uncertain nonlinear interactions. Others have developed deep learning models to control HAPS by predicting the prevailing atmospheric conditions. However, this method will require significant historical data and it may perform poorly when the current atmospheric condition differs significantly from the training dataset.

“My research is focused on the development of model-free control technology for High altitude platforms (HAPS) whose dynamics are influenced by complex environmental factors. In this work, we are developing and implementing a real-time optimal control strategy that does not require prior knowledge of the physical system and excessive historical data" he says.  One of the objectives of their work is to develop controllers that are less complex, simple to implement, and adapt well to unknown conditions.

The project is sponsored by an industrial partner in partnership with Queen’s University which, by the time he graduates, will allow Harry to participate in its deployment and proprietorship. Until then, the specifics must be kept under wraps.

 “The work is highly challenging and exciting at the same time. It involves using knowledge from chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and mathematics” he says.  Harry obtained his bachelor’s degree in Chemical/Petrochemical Engineering from Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria and a master’s degree with distinction from University College London, United Kingdom. He moved back to Nigeria, where he worked briefly as an Assistant Lecturer in his alma mater before working in the oil and gas industry for over five years. He settled in Edmonton, Alberta when he immigrated with his family to Canada, prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program at Queen’s.  

The selection of Queen’s was not incidental. “When deciding which school to attend, my first priority was, what do I want to study and my research interest?” he says. “Then the potential supervisor’s profile and expertise.” Harry is supervised by Martin Guay, who has expertise in process control and real-time optimization technique.

Harry moved here in 2020 and, in the two years since, has grown to enjoy Kingston. “Kingston is a beautiful city with lovely parks where I often take my daughter to play with other kids,” he says. “During the summer months, Lake Ontario Park is my favorite, you can just sit and enjoy the beautiful waterfront. What I like most about Kingston is the people. They are really nice and friendly, and they make me feel at home.”