NavAbility is focused on democratizing robust localization technologies and is the principal maintainer of the open-source localization framework Caesar.jl. We are based out of Boston, Massachusetts and have teams members in Chicago, San Diego, Washington DC, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Our team has a combined track record over 45 years of lessons learned spanning various robotic platforms, including autonomous aerial / marine / shallow & deep underwater / (un-)tethered / space / terrestrial vehicles; as well as industrial scale process monitoring and control that includes heavy machinery / digital / aviation / chemical plant / furnace / gas-turbines and more. Our core technology development is informed by both industry experience and also academic research derived from multiple advanced degrees from the University of Chicago Booth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Georgia Tech, and University of Johannesburg.
The NavAbility Team
Dehann Fourie (CEO)
Dehann’s research and development interest is in Artificial Intelligence (AI) relating to Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) with specialization in techniques for non-Gaussian (multi-modal / multi-hypothesis) simultaneous localization and mapping SLAM, including patented factor graph based inertial navigation. Dehann has over 10 years of academic and industry research experience on GNC/SLAM algorithms for a variety of robotic platforms including: solar powered aerial drones; visual inspection satellites aboard the International Space Station; deep ocean autonomous vehicles for data mule and sampling; humanoid robotics in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Dehann is a co-founder of NavAbility as well as juliarobotics.org and the Caesar.jl framework.
Dehann received his Ph.D, ’17 in the Joint Program from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (EECS / CSAIL) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (AOSE) after completing his M.Ing (Aero + Electronic Eng.), B.Ing, and B.Sc (Computer Science) from the University of Johannesburg.
Sam Claassens (President)
Sam has over 13 years experience in software engineering and is passionate about taking novel systems to market. His career includes architecting three commercially-successful automation and data analysis products for the mining industry, managing his engineering consulting+software development company, and developing machine learning software at General Electric. Sam is a co-founder of NavAbility as well as a co-founder of JuliaRobotics and a contributor to the Caesar.jl framework.
Sam is an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He received his M.Ing (Cum Laude), B.Ing (Electronic+Electrical), and B.Sc (Computer Science) from the University of Johannesburg.
Jim Hill (COO)
Jim has more than 15 years of experience in software, mechanical, and manufacturing engineering in industries including healthcare, education, automotive, mining, aviation and power generation. As the director of cloud systems at NavAbility, he is responsible for engineering systems to leverage the cloud-edge hybrid model only made possible by non-Gaussian graph designs. Scale, security, and ease of integration are always top of mind for Jim.
Before joining NavAbility, he held roles as a design engineer, applications engineer, software engineer, and enterprise architect at Caterpillar, Renishaw, GE Digital, and Intelligent Medical Objects respectively. This breadth of experience across many engineering disciplines allows him to provide a comprehensive view of how digital technology can help solve the next generation of localization challenges. Jim holds a masters degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech as well as a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.
Johan Terblanche (CTO)
Johan has over 10 years industry experience in observation and navigation systems, stabilized gimbal systems, embedded software and electronic hardware design, and inertial navigation systems. His research interests include navigation, guidance and control systems applied to robotics and algorithms development in the Julia language, Johan is a co-founder of JuliaRobotics and a contributor to the Caesar.jl framework.
Johan received his M.Ing (Cum Laude), B.Ing (Electronic+Electrical), and B.Sc (Computer Science) from the University of Johannesburg.
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