Yue “Sophie” Wang, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded the Warren H. Owen-Duke Energy Assistant Professorship of Engineering.

The assistant professorship supports faculty members in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. It was originally established by employees of what was then Duke Power Company in 1989 in honor of the company’s former president, Warren H. Owen.

Yue "Sophie" Wang works with Khepera robots as part of her research.

Yue “Sophie” Wang works with Khepera robots as part of her research.

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, congratulated Wang.

“This honor helps recognize some of the college’s top talent, and Dr. Wang is highly deserving,” he said. “In less than a year, she has won two of the nation’s top research awards for junior faculty members, helping bring distinction on Clemson University.”

Wang is leading a team that is finding new ways of helping humans better interact with robots and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Her team this year received $360,000 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to overcome some of the challenges it faces in using teams of unmanned vehicles and other robots to carry out missions under human supervision.

The primary focus of Wang’s research will be on helping the Air Force with high-priority missions that include intelligence-gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance.

In 2015, Wang was awarded $500,000 through the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program. She is focusing on two distinctly human attributes — trust and regret — to develop new control algorithms and decision-making strategies that would help humans and robots work together to be more productive.

She sees big opportunities for humans and robots to collaborate in manufacturing. Wang also sees high potential for “human-supervised mobile sensor networks.” Robots could begin doing low-level simple and repetitive tasks while humans could be involved in high-level complex tasks.

Wang is editing a Springer book on recent trends in control and decision-making for human-robot collaboration systems, a Wiley book on multi-agent systems, and a special issue on human-robot collaborative manufacturing in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics.

She has been recently elected as an IEEE senior member and is co-chair of the IEEE Control System Society Technical Committee on Manufacturing Automation and Robotic Control. She has also been awarded the Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship in 2015 and 2016.