FRC Seminar Schedule

The Field Robotics Center Seminar Series provides a regular forum for presenting and discussing topics relevant to field robotics. We encourage presentations from faculty, students, staff, and visitors on a variety of topics. All are welcome to attend.

If you are interested in giving a seminar or would like more information, please contact the seminar committee. Chair: Eric Westman (

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August 2, 2018 Shih-Chieh (Jerry) Hsiung, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Toward Invariant Visual Inertial State Estimation using Information Sparsification "
In this work, we address two current challenges in real-time visual-inertial odometry (VIO) systems - efficiency and accuracy. To this end, we present a novel approach to tightly couple visual and inertial measurements in a fixed-lag VIO framework using information sparsification. To bound computational complexity, fixed-lag smoothers perform marginalization of variables but consequently ... [More]
July 27, 2018 Ratnesh Madaan, 3:00 - 4:00 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Wire Detection, Reconstruction, and Avoidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles"
Thin objects, such as wires and power lines are one of the most challenging obstacles to detect and avoid for UAVs, and are a cause of numerous accidents each year. This thesis makes contributions in three areas of this domain: wire segmentation, reconstruction, and avoidance. Pixelwise wire detection can be framed as a binary semantic segmentation task. ... [More]
July 27, 2018 Bing-Jui Ho, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, GHC 4405 [poster]
"Autonomous 3D Reconstruction in Underwater Unstructured Scenes"
Reconstruction of marine structures such as pilings underneath piers presents a plethora of interesting challenges. It is one of those tasks better suited to a robot due to harsh underwater environments. Underwater reconstruction typically involves human operators remotely controlling the robot to predetermined way-points based on some prior knowledge of the location and model of the object of ... [More]
July 26, 2018 Sam Zeng, 10:30 - 11:30 AM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Learning Reactive Flight Control Policies: from LIDAR measurements to Actions"
The end goal of a reactive flight control pipeline is to output control commands based on local sensor inputs. Classical state estimation and control algorithms break down this problem by first estimating the robot’s velocity and then computing a roll and pitch command based on that velocity. However, this approach is not robust in geometrically degenerate environments which do not provide ... [More]
July 2, 2018 Abhinav Valada, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Learning Deep Multimodal Features for Reliable and Comprehensive Scene Understanding"
Robust scene understanding is a critical and essential task for autonomous navigation. This problem is heavily influenced by changing environmental conditions that take place throughout the day and across seasons. In order to learn models that are impervious to these factors, mechanisms that intelligently fuse features from complementary modalities and spectra have to be integrated. In the first ... [More]
May 24, 2018 Alberto Candela Garza, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, NSH 3305 [poster]
"Generative Models of Orbital and In Situ Data for Autonomous Science"
The mapping and characterization of planetary bodies relies on the analysis of data collected by spacecraft and orbiters. For example, the instruments carried by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been crucial in the mapping of landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. These instruments provide extensive contextual information, but factors such as sparsity, resolution, ... [More]
May 11, 2018 Matthias Althoff, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Composable Benchmarks for Safe Motion Planning on Roads"
Numerical experiments for motion planning of road vehicles require numerous components: vehicle dynamics, a road network, static obstacles, dynamic obstacles and their movement over time, goal regions, a cost function, etc. Providing a description of the numerical experiment precise enough to reproduce it might require several pages of information. Thus, ... [More]
Apr 23, 2018 Humphrey Hu, 09:00 - 10:00 AM, NSH 3305 [poster]
"Adapting to Context in Robot Perception"
The promised future filled with robots sensing and acting intelligently in the world is near fruition, thanks in part to continuous progress in robotic perception. However, a number of challenges remain before robots and their perception systems can be truly reliable. In particular, we must consider what happens when highly complex perception systems designed and validated in laboratory and test ... [More]
Jan 24, 2018 Ji Zhang, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"From Robust Real-time SLAM to Safe Collision Avoidance"
State estimation plays a critical role in a robotic system. The problem is to know where the robot is and how it is oriented. This is very often a building block in the navigation system, which modules in charge of higher level tasks are relied on. Challenges are to carry out state estimation in 6-DOF, in real-time at high frequencies, with high precision, ... [More]
Dec 5, 2017 Eugene Fang, 10:30 - 11:30 PM, GHC 4405 [poster]
"Belief Space Planning for Reducing Terrain Relative Localization Uncertainty in Noisy Elevation Maps"
Accurate global localization is essential for planetary rovers to reach science goals and mitigate mission risk. Planetary robots cannot currently use GPS or infrastructure for navigating, and hence rely on terrain for determining global position. Terrain relative navigation (TRN) compares planetary rover-perspective images and 3D models to existing satellite orbital imagery and digital elevation ... [More]
Nov 28, 2017 Graeme Best, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Planning Algorithms for Multi-Robot Active Perception"
A fundamental task of robotic systems is to use on-board sensors and perception algorithms to understand high-level semantic properties of an environment. The performance of perception algorithms can be greatly improved by planning the motion of the robots to obtain high-value observations. In this talk I will present a suite of planning algorithms we have been developing for these tasks. ... [More]
Nov 21, 2017 Ming Hsiao, 3:30 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Dense Planar-Inertial SLAM for Large Indoor 3D Reconstruction"
Reconstructing the dense 3D models of indoor environments in real-time is key to many robotics applications, such as navigation, inspection, and augmented reality. It is also a challenging problem due to the accumulation of drift, large amount of data, limited computation, and occasional lack of visual features. We develop an RGB-D simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) system that takes ... [More]
Sep 22, 2017 Chen Zhu, 12:30 - 1:30 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Fusion of Cameras and Sparse Ranging Measurements in Multi‐agent SLAM"
Cameras are widely used for localization and navigation in GNSS‐denied environments. By exploiting VSLAM (Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) techniques, vehicles equipped with cameras are capable of estimating their own trajectories and simultaneously building a map of the surrounding environment. In many applications, multiple cooperative robotic agents (robotic swarms) are used in ... [More]
Sep 18, 2017 Silvio Maeta, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Software Development for Robotic Systems: some ideas about how to improve it"
Software development for robotic systems is a complex task because it involves creation of new software components, integration of software and hardware systems, and the collaborative work of a very diverse group of people. But this complexity can be managed by using adequate development practices and tools. This talk presents a quick view about tools and processes that can help in the ... [More]
Aug 25, 2017 Simon Schopferer, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1109 [poster]
"Research on Safe Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft at DLR (German Aerospace Center)"
A key research topic at DLR (German Aerospace Center) is safe and autonomous flight of unmanned aircraft in difficult environments. This talk will give a short overview over related research projects at the DLR Institute of Flight Systems that address a wide range of topics, including path planning, precise trajectory control, visual-navigation, flight envelope estimation and certification ... [More]
Aug 11, 2017 Alberto Candela Garza, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Adaptive Spectroscopic Exploration Driven by Science Hypotheses for Geologic Mapping"
As exploration goes to further extremes, communication becomes more constrained. Planetary rover operations are limited in bandwidth, delayed due to distance and resource restricted to just a few communication cycles per day. Despite being one of the closest planets from Earth, Mars rovers spend the vast majority of their time isolated, awaiting instructions. ... [More]
Aug 11, 2017 Merritt Jenkins, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, GHC 6501 [poster]
"Detecting and Grasping Sorghum Stalks in Outdoor Occluded Environments"
Conventional methods of identifying and evaluating physical plant traits are labor-intensive and error-prone. For example, plant breeders use a combination of subjective and manual measurements to empirically confirm that new cross-breeds exhibit desired characteristics. Robots offer the opportunity to improve the speed and quality of plant measurements through a combination of computer vision ... [More]
Aug 4, 2017 Timothy Lee, 10:00 - 11:00 AM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"State Estimation and Localization for ROV-Based Reactor Pressure Vessel Inspection Using a Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera"
Nuclear reactors require periodic maintenance and inspection to ensure continued and safe operations, and automation of inspection tasks through robotics can minimize the duration of reactor inspection outages in a safe and cost-effective manner. State-of-the-art reactor pressure vessel inspection leverages remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), which are teleoperated, submersible robots. ... [More]
July 28, 2017 Shobhit Srivastava, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"High-Fidelity Perceptual Representations via Hierarchical Gaussian Mixture Models"
Operation of mobile autonomous systems in real-world environments and their participation in the accomplishment of meaningful tasks requires a high-fidelity perceptual representation that enables efficient inference. It is challenging to reason efficiently in the space of sensor observations primarily due to the dependence of nature of measurements on the type of sensor, and in some cases, ... [More]
May 23, 2017 Vibhav Ganesh, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, GHC 6501 [poster]
"Robust Distributed 3D Mapping with Communication Constraints"
Rapid autonomous exploration of challenging, GPS-denied environments, such as underground mines, provides essential information to search and rescue and defense operations.We pursue a distributed perception strategy that develops a consistent global map between a team of robots in environments that exhibit repetitive structure, leading to ambiguities in observation correspondences and ... [More]
May 5, 2017 Eric Westman, 10:00 - 11:00 AM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"SLAM and 3D Reconstruction using Imaging Sonar "
Underwater localization and mapping are unusually difficult problems in robotics due to the poor propagation of light through water, which prohibits receiving GPS signals underwater and using cameras to see more than a few meters in turbid water. Due to this, acoustic imaging sonars have been widely used on underwater vehicles as the primary means of sensing the environment. ... [More]
May 4, 2017 Kumar Shaurya Shankar, 4:30 - 5:30 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Mutual Information for Robust Visual Odometry "
Off-the-shelf digital camera sensors often have limited dynamic range and real-world dynamic lighting changes adversely impact visual state estimation algorithms. This is because most conventional visual state estimation algorithms make the constancy of brightness assumption, wherein the intensity of a pixel is expected to be constant across small motions of a camera. ... [More]
May 1, 2017 David Butterworth, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"A Fast and Efficient Mission Planner for Multi-rotor Aerial Vehicles in Large, High-resolution Maps of Cluttered Environments "
Unmanned aerial vehicles have many potential applications, such as monitoring crops and inspecting infrastructure. The potential benefits are greater if the UAV is semi- or fully-autonomous, requiring only occasional human oversight or none at all. This would allow the above use cases to be performed at lower cost, during any time of day, or enable new possibilities such as autonomous package ... [More]
Apr 14, 2017 Matthias Althoff, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Ensuring Safe Human-Robot Co-Existence by Reachability Analysis "
Modern manufacturing companies are expected to quickly and efficiently adapt to production changes, and robotics has long been known as the candidate solution for the required flexibility. To improve such flexibility, future working environments will be populated by both humans and robot manipulators, sharing the same workspace. This scenario entails a series of issues and open topics, ... [More]
Feb 16, 2017 Shichao Yang, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Visual SLAM with Semantic Scene Understanding "
Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) has been widely used in autonomous robots and virtual reality. Existing SLAM algorithms can achieve impressive results in feature-rich environments but cannot work robustly in some challenging low-texture scenarios. In addition, sparse geometric map representation from SLAM is limited for many advanced tasks including robot obstacle avoidance and ... [More]
Dec 8, 2016 Joe Bartels, 10:00 - 11:00 AM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Multi-Modal Data for Perception in Smoke-Filled Underground Mines "
Mine rescue robots rely heavily on visual cameras and LIDAR, which succeed in clear conditions. However, the worst mine disasters are caused by roof falls, explosions, and fires, which generate thick dust and smoke that obscure traditional sensing and thwart robot perception. This talk presents the failures of traditional sensing techniques in smoky conditions. ... [More]
Nov 11, 2016 Serban Sabau, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"How to Platoon more than Three Cars: A Comprehensive, Practical Solution "
On highways, all vehicles (automated or not) must travel in the string (or platoon) formation. Surprisingly enough, this has been an open problem in controls for more than fifty years, dating back to the work of Levine and Athans on intelligent vehicles highway systems. The reason for which automated platooning is not a reality today is that no existing solution was deemed completely satisfactory ... [More]
Sep 16, 2016 David Thompson, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Onboard Data Analysis for the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithography "
Imaging spectrometers are invaluable instruments for robotic science exploration, enabling quantitative maps of physical and chemical properties at high spatial resolution. This is particularly valuable in remote missions to other planetary bodies like Mars. The PIXL instrument on the Mars2020 rover will deploy an arm-mounted X-Ray fluorescence spectrometer to map chemical composition at ... [More]
July 27, 2016 Daniel Lu, 3:00 - 4:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Vision-Enhanced Lidar Odometry and Mapping"
As self driving car technology advances, it is important for mobile robots and autonomous vehicles to navigate accurately. Vision-Enhanced Lidar Odometry and Mapping (VELO) is a new algorithm for simultaneous localization and mapping using a set of cameras and a lidar. By tightly coupling sparse visual odometry and lidar scan matching, VELO is able to achieve reduced drift error compared to using ... [More]
July 18, 2016 Bastian Schurmann, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Convex Interpolation Control with Formal Guarantees for Disturbed and Constrained Nonlinear Systems"
A new control method is presented which solves reach-avoid problems by interpolating optimal solutions using convex combinations. It also provides formal guarantees for constraint satisfaction and safety. Reach-avoid problems are important control tasks, which arise in many modern application areas, including autonomous driving and robotic path planning. ... [More]
July 11, 2016 Samuel Yim, 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Rover Localization in Sparsely-Featured Environments "
Autonomous outdoor localization is a challenging but important task for rovers. This is especially true in desert-like environments such as those on Mars, where features can be difficult to distinguish and GPS is not available. This work describes a localization system called MeshSLAM, which requires only stereo images as inputs. MeshSLAM uses the spatial geometry of rocks as landmarks in a ... [More]
June 29, 2016 Grace Xingxin Gao, 10:00 - 11:00 AM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Navigating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at Low Altitude: Accuracy, Reliability and Security "
The ever-growing applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) require UAVs to navigate at low altitude below 2000 feet. Traditionally, a UAV is equipped with a single GPS receiver. When flying at low altitude, a single GPS receiver may receive signals from less than four GPS satellites in the partially visible sky, not sufficient to conduct trilateration. ... [More]
June 16, 2016 John Walker, 2:30 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Rovers for Exploring Lunar Pits and Caves "
Lava tubes are caves that underlie the moon. Until recently, lunar cave exploration was impossible, since there was no known means to enter the closed tubes. Great holes, or "pits" have recently been discovered from orbit, and some of these appear to offer robotic access to caves. Space agencies and private institutions plan to visit these potential caves and investigate them as potential lunar ... [More]
May 05, 2016 Zongyi Yang, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Robot Brachiation with Energy Control "
Branching structures are ubiquitous elements in several environments on Earth, from trees found in nature to man-made trusses and power lines. Being able to navigate such environments provides a difficult challenge to robots ill-equipped to handle the task. In nature, locomotion through such an environment is solved by apes through a process called brachiation, ... [More]
Apr 22, 2016 Eugene Fang, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"High-Fidelity Planetary Route Determination Using Computationally Efficient Monocular Fisheye Odometry and Sun Compass"
Today’s planetary robotic exploration is carried out by large, lumbering rovers. Due to the expense of such rovers, the resulting missions are risk averse. Small, high-cadence, minimalist rovers are poised to break new ground by expanding space exploration capabilities. Whether by decreasing overall mission costs or enabling symbiotic exploration among multiple low-cost rovers, ... [More]
Apr 20, 2016 Garrett Hemann, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, GHC 4405 [poster]
" Long-range GPS-denied Aerial Inertial Navigation "
GPS-denied aerial state estimation techniques have recently demonstrated significantly robust solutions in small, indoor environments, but not much work has been done for larger, outdoor environments. This work presents a GPS-denied inertial navigation solution using LIDAR localization for long-distance traversals (up to and beyond 200 km). By using an a priori digital elevation model (DEM) and ... [More]
Apr 19, 2016 Tiffany Huang, 10:30 - 11:30 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
" Acoustic Structure from Motion "
Although the ocean spans most of the Earth’s surface, our ability to explore and perform tasks underwater is still limited to shallow depths and short missions. Towards expanding the possibilities of underwater operations, imaging sonar or forward looking sonar (FLS) is commonly used for autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) navigation and perception. ... [More]
Apr 18, 2016 Neal Bhasin, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
" Fuel-Optimal Spacecraft Guidance for Landing in Planetary Pits "
Propulsive spacecraft enable scientific discovery and exploration of the worlds beyond Earth. Autonomous spacecraft have landed on Earth, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Titan, asteroids, and a comet. Recently discovered planetary pits allow access to subsurface voids valuable for scientific discovery and sustained exploration. With recent advancements in embedded convex optimization software and ... [More]
Apr 18, 2016 Joseph Amato, 9:00 - 10:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Symbiotic Planning for Planetary Exploration "
Traditional planetary exploration missions have relied upon a single rover acting as the sole mission asset. As exploration pushes us closer and closer to high-risk high-reward locales on the Moon and Mars, such an approach is no longer ideal. Instead, multiple heterogeneous rovers operating in a symbiotic fashion, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, ... [More]
Apr 15, 2016 Steve Saunders, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, NSH 3305 [poster]
"How Robotics will change the world of horticulture harvesting, pollination and other possibilities"
Globally, horticulture is facing many challenges. The most significant of these challenges range from scalability to meet growing food demands, the impacts of constantly increasing labour requirements, produce loss (waste), yield security, hygiene and more. Most people can conceptualise how robotics will assist with many labour intensive horticultural roles to minimise or replace the direct ... [More]
Apr 14, 2016 Tanmay Kumar Mandal, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
" Real-Time Monitoring and Prediction of the Pilot Vehicle System (PVS) Closed-Loop Stability "
Human pilots are complex, adaptive and non-linear controllers. It is important for the safety of the manned aircrafts to study and understand the human pilot behavior. Considerable resources are invested during the design phase of an aircraft to ensure that the aircraft has desirable handling qualities. However human pilot exhibit wide range of control behavior which is a function of external ... [More]
Mar 17, 2016 John Yao, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
" Improving the Precision of Aerial Robot Infrastructure Inspection Through Aerodynamic Disturbance Inference "
The use of aerial robots to inspect bridges, buildings, and other types of infrastructure is becoming widespread due to their advantages in providing sensor mobility, enabling consistent data collection over long time intervals, and improving the safety of human inspectors. Inspection missions require aerial robots to fly outdoors in close proximity to inspection targets, ... [More]
Dec 14, 2015 Curtis Boirum, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Reducing Localization Error for Planetary Rovers with Absolute Bearing by Continuously Tracking the Sun "
Achieving meaningful exploration and discovery in our universe pivots on knowing where we are as we navigate the unknown. In many terrestrial cases this problem - the localization problem - has been remedied by precise a priori mapping of environments and developing advanced infrastructure such as global positioning satellites (GPS). However, current extraterrestrial surface exploration robots do ... [More]
Dec 10, 2015 Fernando Auat Cheein, 12:30 - 1:30 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Orchard Characterization and its importance in Crop Management "
Robots in agriculture are used for main tasks, such as harvesting, seeding or pruning; and for secondary tasks such as crop monitoring and herbicide management. In this presentation it will be shown the latest results in crop monitoring and characterization achieved by Dr. Auat Cheein and his group, including case studies and the computational techniques (and sensors) they are using such as ... [More]
Dec 9, 2015 Fernando Auat Cheein, 3:00 - 4:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Agricultural Robotics and the Chilean Challenges "
In recent years, agriculture in Chile has experienced serious challenges that have affected its productivity, such as low water reserves due to climate change, loss of arable land due to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes , and the upward trend of the mining industry. To improve productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural industry in these adverse scenarios, ... [More]
Nov 4, 2015 Edward Belbruno, 3:00 - 4:00 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Painting the way to the moon - using chao for solar system travel "
Kepler discovered that orbits are ellipses. For decades, the only way to fly from one world to another was to connect ellipses. A revolutionary new approach called weak stability boundary theory exploits bodies other than the origin and destination to make the same trip with vast fuel savings. This is the first systematic application of chaos theory to spaceflight. ... [More]
Nov 4, 2015 Eugene Fang, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Route Determination for Planetary Rovers"
One of the primary challenges of planetary rover exploration is route determination. Determining a rover’s route is crucial for path planning, operational awareness, and quantifying scientific discoveries (e.g. to determine the relative locations and distances among interesting landmarks). Many methods of route determination on Earth are not sufficient for GPS-denied regions such as the Moon. ... [More]
Oct 30, 2015 Ryan Eustice, 3:30 - 4:30 PM, GHC 6115 [poster]
"University of Michigan's Work Toward Autonomous Cars"
Self-driving test vehicles have become a reality on roadways and there is an ever present push toward making them a consumer product in the not so distant future. In this talk, I will give an overview of some of our on-going work (in collaboration with Ford Motor Company) in full-scale automated driving. In particular, we’ll look at some of our successes in high definition map building and ... [More]
Sept 21, 2015 Sebastian Dingler, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Using Lidar and Monoscopic Camera for Bridge Reconstruction"
The Aerial Robotic Infrastructure Analyst (ARIA) project is developing new methods to model and analyze public infrastructure elements like bridges with micro air vehicles (MAVs). Current inspection methods involve expensive, specialized equipment, and are potentially dangerous for workers. Additionally, the inspection results are difficult to compare over time. ... [More]
Sept 19, 2015 Andy Dorsett, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Wolfram Technologies in Education and Research"
This talk illustrates capabilities in Mathematica 10 and other Wolfram technologies that are directly applicable for use in teaching and research on campus. Topics of these technical talks include: * Enter calculations in everyday English, or using the flexible Wolfram Language * Visualize data, functions, surfaces, and more in 2D or 3D * Store and share documents locally or in the Wolfram ... [More]
Aug 7, 2015 Hiroaki Inotsume, 1:00 - 2:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Analysis of Angle of Attack for Efficient Slope Ascent by Rovers "
What direction should a rover drive to efficiently ascend slope of loose soil? To explore the lunar poles, rovers will need to traverse craters where high slip will hamper progress. Because of limited energy, rovers need to find efficient routes to traverse such sloped terrain. We analyzed the influence of the rover's angle of attack on slope-ascent performance and developed a rover model based ... [More]
June 1, 2015 Mark Whitty, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Robots + Cameras + Vines = Cheaper Wine, Bigger Headache or Both? "
Inaccurate yield prediction in viticulture costs the Australian wine industry alone in the order of $200 million per year. The vast scale of vineyards and substantial variability within individual blocks is a challenge for industry-practice manual sampling methods. Achieving accurate predictions is difficult, particularly early in the season when critical management decisions need to be made. ... [More]
May 8, 2015 Joerg Dittrich, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Flight Testing of an Unmanned Aircraft System - A Research Perspective "
This contribution outlines the lessons learned from ten years of flight test experience of ARTIS, a family of unmanned helicopters of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The project started with a small team in scientific environment where hardly any flight test planning was necessary. Nowadays, ARTIS is part of a larger experimentation fleet including unmanned fixed-wing aircraft of different ... [More]
May 5, 2015 Erik Nelson, 2:00-3:00 PM, NSH 3305 [poster]
"Environment Model Compression for Autonomous Exploration "
This talk will focus on methods for increasing the speed at which a mobile robot is able to explore an unknown environment. Exploration is a useful capability for autonomous mobile robots that must operate outside of controlled factory or laboratory environments. Recent advances in exploration employ techniques that compute control actions by analyzing information-theoretic metrics on the robot's ... [More]
Apr 29, 2015 Luke Yoder, 1:00-2:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Autonomous Exploration for Modeling Structures with a Micro Aerial Vehicle "
Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) are an exciting technology for mobile sensing of infrastructure as they can easily navigate to hard to reach areas and collect data. Although MAVs equipped with 3D sensing are starting to be used in industry, currently they must be remotely controlled by skilled pilot. In this talk I present an approach that plans exploration paths for MAVs equipped with 3D range ... [More]
Apr 27, 2015 Kristen Holtz, 10:00-11:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Learning a Context-Dependent Switching Strategy for Robust Visual Odometry"
Many applications for robotic systems require the systems to traverse diverse, unstructured environments. State estimation with Visual Odometry (VO) in these applications is challenging because there is no single algorithm that performs well across all environments and situations. The unique trade-offs inherent to each algorithm mean different algorithms excel in different environments. ... [More]
Apr 21, 2015 Sankalp Arora, 10:00-11:00 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Enabling High Speed Autonomous Flights"
Autonomous mobile robots are required to operate in partially known, unstructured environments. It is imperative to guarantee safety of such systems for their successful deployment. Current state of the art for guaranteeing safety does not fully exploit the sensory and dynamic capabilities of a robot. For a non-holonomic system with non-linear dynamic constraints, ... [More]
Mar 25, 2015 Gideon Avigad, 3:00-4:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Set-Based Design and Evolution"
Evolutionary Computation (EC) has become an important heuristic often used to search for solutions to optimization problems. Utilizing EC for solving Multi-Objective Optimization Problems (MOPs) has become a winning choice. Since the development of Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs) have been mainly used for evolving the Pareto front of the problem. ... [More]
Feb 25, 2015 Debadeepta Dey, 12:00-1:00 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Vision and Learning for Reactive and Deliberative Monocular Cluttered Flight"
Autonomous navigation for large Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is relatively well-studied, with many deployable expensive sensors and monitoring devices. In contrast, obstacle avoidance remains a challenging task for Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) which operate at low altitude in cluttered environments. Unlike large vehicles, MAVs can only carry very light sensors, such as cameras, ... [More]
Feb 3, 2015 Humphrey Hu, 9:30-10:30 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Positive-Definite Matrix Regression for Covariance Estimation"
The ubiquitous additive Gaussian noise model is favored in statistical modeling applications for its flexibility and ease of use. Most commonly used models assume a constant covariance, while in reality error characteristics may change predictably over time. By instead modeling errors as being drawn from varying distributions, we can capture a wide variety of noise characteristics while ... [More]
Dec 8, 2014 Nate Otten, 10:30-11:30 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Nomadic Exploration: Planning Routes of Continuous Illumination and Traversability using Connected Component Analysis"
Robots exploring polar regions of airless bodies such as the Moon and Mercury must cope with complex, dynamic environments. They will encounter rough terrain, time-varying illumination, temperature variations, and communication dropouts. Solar-powered rovers in these environments are motivated to stay in the light as much as possible to generate electricity and regulate internal temperature. ... [More]
Dec 4, 2014 Jon Anderson, 10:00-11:00 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Actuating Planetary Rover Wheels"
Planetary wheel actuators incorporate specialized motors, gearboxes, lubrication, bearings, and seals in order to cope with the harsh environments they operate in. Despite this, mechanical loads, wide thermal swing, aggressive dust intrusion, vacuum, and prolonged operation have contributed to failure of prior wheel actuators. Planetary rover performance and mass optimization resulting in low ... [More]
Oct 9, 2014 Pratik Agarwal, 10:30-11:30 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Metric Global Localization using Street View"
Accurate global localization is one of the central challenges in mobile robotics. Most of the existing methods use GPS or model it as a pose estimation problem in a previously computed map. In this talk,I will present a novel approach to metric localization that neither requires the construction of a consistent map,nor a previous visit of the environment. ... [More]
Sept 19, 2014 Matthias Althoff, 10:30-11:30 AM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Guaranteeing Safety of Autonomous Vehicles with On-The-Fly Verification "
Ensuring safety is of paramount importance for the development of automated vehicles operating in public road traffic. For this reason, it is important to provide methods that formally verify the safety of automated vehicles. This is challenging since automated vehicles will operate in partially unknown environments so that there exists no finite set of scenarios that can be verified before ... [More]
August 22, 2014 Josse De Baerdemaeker, 12-1 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"EU-NMP project: Clever robots for crops (cROpS) "
The main objective of CROPS is to develop a highly configurable, modular and clever carrier platform comprising a carrier plus modular parallel manipulators and intelligent tools (sensors, algorithms, sprayers, grippers) that can easily be installed onto the carrier and that are capable of adapting to new tasks and conditions. Both the scientific know-how and a number of technological ... [More]
August 21, 2014 Wennie Tabib [poster]
"Crater Detection in Planetary Images"
This research presents a method of identifying craters in planetary images. Crater detection forms the crux of optical registration algorithms in which collections of craters are matched to known locations on a planet. Absolute pose of a spacecraft can be recovered from pixel coordinates in the image and matching locations on the planet’s surface. While on-board GPS and INS systems are ... [More]
August 6, 2014 Vishnu Desaraju [poster]
"Informed Trajectory Generation for Autonomous Rooftop Landing"
Autonomous landing is an essential function for micro air vehicles (MAVs) for many scenarios. Due to their limited on-board sensing and processing capabilities, we pursue an active perception strategy in which the MAV generates trajectories that enable it to identify and assess feasible landing sites during approach. This work specifically addresses the problem of landing on a rooftop to monitor ... [More]
July 18, 2014 Davide Scaramuzza [poster]
"Towards Agile Flight of Vision-controlled Micro Flying Robots: from Frame-based to Event-based Vision"
In the last two years, we have heard a lot of news about Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), in the form of small quadrotors. Quadrotors have numerous advantages over ground vehicles: they can easily reach environments that no human can access and have more agility and navigational capabilities than ground vehicles. Unfortunately, their dynamics makes them extremely difficult to control and this is ... [More]
May 28, 2014 Hiroaki Inotsume [poster]
"Study on Wheel Grouser Designs for Improving Traverse Performance of Planetary Rovers"
Because of great successes of the JPL’s Mars Rovers, future planetary exploration rovers are expected to probe more scientifically fascinating areas traversing sand dunes, flank of mountains, and/or crater rims which are covered with loose soil. In such areas, wheels of a rover will lose their traction resulting in high slip and sinkage, or deviations from planned paths. ... [More]
May 12, 2014 Daniel Maturana, Noon-1pm, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Semantic Point Cloud Labeling for Aerial Vehicles"
Advanced capabilities for autonomous aerial vehicles require an understanding of the environment that goes beyond geometric characteristics. For example, an autonomous helicopter's planning system may want to treat buildings and foliage differently when generating flight trajectories, to give buildings more clearance; or it may want to treat rocks and grass differently when searching for landing ... [More]
April 18, 2014 Chris Cunningham, 1:30-2:30pm, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Fusion of Visual and Thermal Sensing for Traversability Prediction"
Loose, granular soil can trap planetary rovers causing costly delays and even mission-ending failures. Soft Martian soil trapped Opportunity for more than a month and ended Spirit’s mission on Mars. This research seeks to predict loose, hazardous terrain before rover entrapment using a combination of visual and thermal sensing. Non-contact traversability prediction will improve both the safety ... [More]
April 16, 2014 Hyunggi Cho, 1PM-2PM, NSH 1109 [poster]
"A Multi-sensor Fusion System for Moving Object Detection and Tracking in Urban Environments"
A self-driving car, to be deployed in real-world driving environments, must be capable of reliably detecting and effectively tracking of moving objects. In this talk, I will briefly present our new, moving object detection and tracking system that extends and improves our earlier system used for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. First, I will explain our new vision recognition system which detects ... [More]
January 16, 2014 Girish Chowdhary, 1PM-2PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Information Enabled Adaptive Autonomy for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles"
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are envisioned to bring the needed capabilities in forward base support, disaster management, law enforcement, and other grand challenge applications without putting humans at direct risk. In order to realize this vision, UAVs must learn to "fly themselves" and reliably. The key challenge in realizing such technology arises from the need to adapt to uncertainties ... [More]
December 13, 2013 Abhinav Valada, 11AM-12PM, NSH 3002 [poster]
"An Autonomous Robot for Manipulation and Mapping of NFT Installations"
At the rate at which the population of the world is currently growing, it is estimated to reach 10 billion by the year 2083. On the other hand, about 36% of the land suitable for crop production in the world is already being used, leaving only 2.7 billion hectares. The potential of a future shortage has let to rapid acquisitions of vast tracts of foreign land by food-insecure nations to protect ... [More]
November 21, 2013 Michael Furlong, 1PM-2PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Application of Optimal Foraging Theory to Science Autonomy"
Science Autonomy is an exciting application of Active Learning but it comes with constraints that only appear when the learning agent is embodied. In the case of the Life in the Atacama Desert project robots are conducting exploration on a planetary scale. Because the robots exploring the real world can't query an oracle for examples their form of active learning becomes making the decision to ... [More]
November 12, 2013 Junya Tatsuno, 1PM-2PM, NSH 1109 [poster]
"Development of Farming Robot to Practice Environmentally Friendly Agriculture"
We believe that an autonomous robot is better-suited to practicing environmentally friendly agriculture. Besides, we consider that agricultural robots don't need to perform operations that have conventionally performed by humans but should practice a new cultivation method that is done by only autonomous robots. First, we elaborated the master plan of the environmentally friendly cultivation ... [More]
October 22, 2013 Franz Hover, 11AM-12PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"PLUME-CHASERS: Designing Fast Robot Teams Underwater"
Pursuit is a general class of perception and control problems defined by critical space and time scales: a follower that cannot maintain adequate real-time performance will simply be unable to keep up. Autonomous pursuit missions in the ocean include tracking of a marine vehicle or animal, and monitoring a large-scale ocean process like an oil plume or chemical front. ... [More]
October 3, 2013 Young-Woo Seo, 1-2 PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Estimation and Tracking of Local Road Geometry for Assisting Reliable Urban Driving"
For safe urban driving, keeping a car within a road-lane boundary is a critical prerequisite. It requires human and robotic drivers to recognize the boundary of a road-lane and the vehicle’s location with respect to the boundary of a road-lane that the vehicle happens to be driving in. To provide such a perception capability, we present a new computer vision system that analyzes a stream of ... [More]
September 25, 2013 Issa Nesnas, 12 PM -1 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"Planetary Robotic Exploration: Mobility and Autonomy"
The success of the Mars rovers has provided a wealth of information leading to major scientific discoveries. Planetary mobility has proved to be an invaluable tool of surface exploration, complementing orbital observations. In this talk, Dr. Nesnas will provide an overview of advances in robotic autonomy that have contributed to the success of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, ... [More]
September 10, 2013 Weilin Wang, 1-2 PM, NSH 1109 [poster]
"Advanced Sensing and Imaging Techniques for Automated Quality Inspection of Fruits and Vegetables"
Automated and non-destructive inspection is the key issue in the safety and quality control of fruits and vegetables. The talk introduces a series of work conducted to improve the efficacy of the quality inspection of onions. The optical properties of onion tissues were investigated to develop sensing systems using spectroscopic and imaging methods. A novel multi-sensor-based machine vision ... [More]
August 2, 2013 Edgar Stadler and Martin Wüstefeld, 12:30PM-1:30PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"3D Measurement and Man-Machine Cooperation"
SICK AG focuses on the development, production and sales of intelligent sensors and sensor solutions for factory, logistics and process automation. The presentation centers on two important technology trends at SICK AG: moving from 2D to 3D measurement technologies and more sophisticated industrial safety systems. Mr. Edgar Stadler will present the latest 3D product portfolio from SICK AG. ... [More]
July 26, 2013 Brian Wilcox, 2-3 PM, NSH 1305 [poster]
"ATHLETE - A Space Robot for Large Payloads"
As part of the Human-Robot Systems project funded by NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a vehicle called ATHLETE: the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer. Each vehicle is based on six wheels at the ends of six multi-degree-of-freedom limbs. Because each limb has enough degrees of freedom for use as a general-purpose leg, ... [More]
July 9, 2013 Joerg Dittrich, 2-3 PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Unmanned Aircraft Research at the DLR Institute of Flight Systems – Current Research and Future Challenges"
The talk introduces the Institute and its work on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The primary research aspects of the group include automatic dynamic real-time flight path generation, onboard vision processing as a flight controls sensor, systems enabling the shared airspace operation of manned and unmanned aircraft as well as certification aspects for unmanned aircraft systems. ... [More]
June 27, 2013 Chen “Ken” Friedman, 11:30AM-12:30PM, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Obstacle Avoidance and Targeted Flight for Rotary Wing MAVs in GPS-Denied Environments"
The talk focuses on targeted flight of rotary-wing micro aerial vehicles (MAVs), in previously unexplored, GPS-denied environments. Targeted flight is defined as navigating to a goal position, defined by relative distance from a known initial position. It differs from the more common task of mapping, as it may not rely on loop closure opportunities to smooth out errors and optimize the generated ... [More]
May 24, 2013 Florian-Michael Adolf, 1PM–2PM, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Mission Planning and Execution for the Unmanned Rotorcraft ARTIS"
One focus of unmanned systems research is to further reduce the dependency on human supervision and control during mission execution. On a task-based level and thus similarly to a human pilot, the system on board should be able to accept goal directed tasks from which it automatically formulates executable plan sequences. Task-based navigation for unmanned rotorcraft is an interesting problem, ... [More]
May 22, 2013 Daniel Loret de Mola Lemus, 1:00-2:00pm, GHC 2109 [poster]
"Slip Control on Extreme Slopes for a Rover with Plowing Capability"
Recent efforts in planetary robotic exploration aim toward craters, skylights, and other depressions with challenging terrain conditions. The access to such places requires traversing on extreme slopes where high levels of slip greatly hamper rover mobility and control. To successfully reach valuable targets such as water ice and mineral outcrops in these locations, ... [More]
May 9, 2013 James Lee, 2:30-3:30pm, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Graphical Methods for Mapping Underground Environments"
Robots are the perfect matches for the dull, dangerous, and dirty job of mining. Recent advances in robotics have enabled machines to operate independently from human operators and venture deeper into mines, map larger spaces, and more accurately relay scene and safety information back to base to remote users. To do this, robots operating in underground spaces must accurately track their location ... [More]
April 9, 2013 Aaron Morris, 2:30-3:30pm, NSH 1507 [poster]
"The Ins and Outs of a Technology Startup"
In 2009, I started a company called Allpoint Systems to commercialize promising 3D robotic technologies. In the years to follow, despite a worldwide global recession, Allpoint prospered, developed disruptive solutions for engineering workflows, and was ultimately acquired in late 2012 by Autodesk, a world leader in 3D design software. In this talk, I will recount lessons learned during my ... [More]
March 26, 2013 C. Fred Higgs, III, 1:30-2:30pm, GHC 2109 [poster]
"The Tribology of Particles and Particle Flows: Studying their Behavior wherever they Surface"
Particles and particulate flows often emerge as barriers or enablers to the advancement of a wide array of engineering technologies. In biotechnology, they can cause diseases such as osteolysis in artificial hip and knee joints. In extreme environments such as space, particles can bring both good news and bad news. For example, the good news is that powder particles can be employed as solid ... [More]
Feb 20, 2013 John Christian, 3pm, NSH 1507 [poster]
"Spacecraft Attitude Estimation: From Fundamentals to New Filtering Techniques"
Attitude estimation is a critical task for most modern spacecraft. Whether it's pointing a telescope, an engine nozzle, or a communications antenna, accurate knowledge of the vehicle's attitude in real-time is often necessary for a spacecraft to accomplish its mission. To obtain the information required to estimate its attitude, a typical spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will contain an ... [More]
Dec 12, 2012 Mark Desnoyer, 12pm NSH 1507 [poster]
"Visual Utility to Direct Processing and Speed Up Vision Algorithms"
One of the fundamental problems in computer vision is that most computer vision algorithms are too computationally expensive to use in real-time systems. Though some speed up approaches have been found for specific algorithms (e.g. SURF vs. SIFT), there is a more general class of approaches that keep coming up in the literature and in practice. We’ll call these approaches visual utility ... [More]
June 19, 2012 Balajee Kannan, 11am GHC 2109

May 9, 2012 Michael Milford, 11am GHC 2109 [poster]
"RatSLAM: Using Models of Rodent Hippocampus for Robot Navigation"
The brain circuitry involved in encoding space in rodents has been extensively tested over the past thirty years, with an ever increasing body of knowledge about the components and wiring involved in navigation tasks. The learning and recall of spatial features is known to take place in and around the hippocampus of the rodent, where there is clear evidence of cells that encode the rodent's ... [More]
May 8, 2012 Michael Furlong, 11am GHC 2109 [poster]
"Simulating global motion detection in Macaque visual cortex and it's application to optical flow."
Pattern cells in area V5/MT represent an intriguing step in the visual hierarchy, whereby neurons become sensitive to global motion, rather than simply to the motion of constituent components, cells in the primary visual cortex (V1). A number of models have been proposed to explain this (Simoncelli and Heeger, 1998), (Nowlan and Sejnowski, 1995), but a recent attempt by Rust et al. ... [More]
April 24, 2012 Andrew Chambers, 11am GHC 2109 [poster]
"State Estimation from Visual-Inertial Data in Unstructured Environments"
In an unstructured, GPS-denied environment, vehicle state estimation is difficult and extremely important for operating an autonomous micro aerial vehicle. Inertial data from a low cost IMU and frame-to-frame stereo visual odometry measurements can be combined in a Unscented Kalman filter to provide high frequency, low latency state estimation. Relative measurements from visual odometry and noisy ... [More]
April 23, 2012 Heather Jones, 11am GHC 2109 [poster]
"Complementary Flyover and Rover Sensing for Modeling of Planetary Features"
This talk presents complementary flyover and surface exploration for reconnaissance of planetary point destinations, like skylights and polar crater rims, where local 3D detail matters. Recent breakthroughs in precise, safe landing enable spacecraft to touchdown within a few hundred meters of target destinations. These precision trajectories provide unprecedented access to birds-eye views of the ... [More]
April 23, 2012 Chris Urmson, 4pm NSH 3305
"Recent Experiences in Self-driving Cars"
March 28, 2012 Alberto Speranzon, 2pm NSH 1507 [poster]
"Distributed Algorithms for Multi-robot Localization"
In this talk we will present UTRC current research initiative in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (AIS) with particular emphasis on multi-vehicle navigation with imperfect and intermittent sensor in GPS denied/degraded environments. In particular, we will present methods for robust and adaptive filtering and provide some preliminary results on performance analysis of this type of filters when ... [More]
Feb 14, 2012 Stephen Nuske, 11am GHC2109 [poster]
"Automated Estimation of Grapevine Yield and Canopy Size for Precision Vineyard Management"
The single-most important practice in vineyard production that impacts economic viability is the balancing of potential yield with vine canopy size. Grape growers, however, suffer from a dearth of information about the state of their vines leading to uninformed manipulation of the vines and inefficiency in their production process. Growers want to measure and control the key indicators of vine ... [More]
Jan 30, 2012 Geoff Hollinger, 11am NSH3305 [poster]
"Autonomous Inspection and the Benefit of Adaptivity"
There is growing interest in the use of robotic vehicles for inspection tasks, such as evaluation of aging facilities, surveying of disaster sites (e.g., the Fukushima nuclear plant), and sweeping for maliciously placed mines and explosive devices. Autonomous robots are uniquely suited for such tasks because they are capable of entering areas that may be dangerous or inaccessible to human ... [More]
Jan 17, 2012 George Kantor
Dec 20, 2011 Dennis Strelow [poster]
"General and Nested Wiberg Minimization"
Wiberg matrix factorization breaks a matrix Y into low-rank factors U and V by solving for V in closed form given U, linearizing V(U) about U, and iteratively minimizing ||Y - UV(U)||_2 with respect to U only. This approach factors the matrix while effectively removing V from the minimization. Recently, Eriksson and van den Hengel won CVPR 2010 Best Paper by extending this approach to L1, ... [More]
Dec 12, 2011 Greg Davis, 2pm [poster]
"Exciting Developments in NASA's Robotic Exploration Program"
The recent retirement of the Space Shuttle has prompted reports of the demise of the space program, which to paraphrase Mark Twain "are greatly exaggerated." Today, there are many exciting developments in NASA's unmanned space program, and in non-government commercial space programs as well. 2011 has been one of the busiest years ever for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), ... [More]
Dec 6, 2011 David Kohanbash, 1pm GHC2109 [poster]
"Plowing for Rover Control on Extreme Slopes"
Planetary rovers are increasingly challenged to negotiate extreme terrain. Early destinations have been benign to preclude risk, but canyons, funnels, and newly discovered holes present steep slopes that defy tractive descent. Steep craters and holes with unconsolidated material pose a particularly treacherous danger to modern rovers. This talk explores robotic braking by plowing, ... [More]
Nov 22, 2011 Matt Aasted, 4pm [poster]
"Design and Preliminary Evaluation of a User Interface for a Roadable Air Vehicle"
Transfomer is a DARPA program to create a roadable air vehicle, also known as a flying car. A major project goal is to make the vehicle usable by a non-pilot. I will present work done at Carnegie Mellon in collaboration with Honeywell on autonomy and interaction design for an autonomous air vehicle with a minimally trained user. I will also discuss the challenges associated with the domain, ... [More]
Nov 16, 2011 Bradley Hamner [poster]
"Autonomous Orchard Vehicles"
Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops is a four-year project focused on the development of efficiency-improvement and labor cost-reduction technologies for the apple and nursery tree industries. In this talk we present the Autonomous Prime Movers (APM), a family of vehicles capable of autonomous driving in orchards and nurseries. The APMs carry tools and sensors to automate various farm ... [More]
Nov 10, 2011 Lars Kuhnert [poster]
"Current applications in autonomous off-road robotics"
Design and realization of autonomous mobile outdoor robots is a complex undertaking particularly when it comes to master concrete real-world outdoor scenarios. The demanding requirements of tasks like outdoor environment model acquisition, planning in unstructured and often dynamic environments and autonomously detecting and recovering from failure have to be dealt with. ... [More]
Nov 4, 2011 Cristiano Pontelli, Tiago Goulard, Hannes Fischer [poster]
"A review of the Brazilian agricultural practices: challenges and opportunities for ag robotics "
Agriculture is an important industry in Brazil, responsible for 30% of the country’s GDP. Major crops include soy, corn and sugar cane. Like other countries around the world, the Brazilian agriculture faces challenges associated with labor availability and introduction of new technologies in the field. In this talk we will present an overview of the agricultural sector in Brazil and ... [More]
Nov 1, 2011 Andrzej Banaszuk
"Autonomy Research at the United Technology Research Center"
This talk will discuss current work in the current areas of focus: target detection, visual navigation, object tracking/recognition from image and range data, LIDAR, Range Sensing, and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). One application area is in the autonomy for rotorcraft operating in near earth environments.
Oct 24, 2011 Andrew Johnson [poster]
"Safe and Precise Planetary Landing Technologies"
Landing hazards are surface features that could damage a planetary lander during touch down. Landing hazards include tall rocks, steep slopes, scarps, cliffs and craters. The purpose of Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA) is to autonomously detect these hazards near the landing site and then determine a new landing site that is safe. After selection, ... [More]
Aug 15, 2011 Eric Baumgartner [poster]
"Mobile Manipulation for the Mars Exploration Rovers"
This talk will describe NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission which successfully landed the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the Martian surface in January 2004. The talk will focus on the design, development and operation of the MER Instrument Positioning System and the use of this subsystem to carry out in situ science operations on the Martian surface. ... [More]
Jun 20, 2011 Arman Melkumyan [poster]
"Large-scale multi-task machine learning via Gaussian processes"
Large-scale and multi-task learning remain difficult yet important problems in machine learning. In large-scale Gaussian processes the difficulty arises by the need to invert a potentially large covariance matrix during inference. For the multi-task learning problems the main challenge is the definition of valid kernels (covariance functions) able to capture ... [More]
Jun 06, 2011 Jeff Pan - *Monday* at 11am in GHC 2109
"Scalable Reasoning in the Semantic Web"
In order to implement the Semantic Web vision, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a few standards that are related to reasoning, including RDF, OWL and SPARQL. Indeed, tractable reasoning over ontologies is one of the most useful and important services to support Semantic Web applications. The talk will begin with an introduction of the above standards, ... [More]
May 10, 2011 David Wettergreen - 11am NSH 3305 [poster]
"Experiments in Robotic Traverse in Antarctica"
There are substantial environmental and economic advantages to using tractors to haul cargo to Antarctic field camps and even to the South Pole, more than 1000 miles from the coast, rather than transporting supplies by aircraft. However it is slow going and very difficult for people to maintain day after day in all conditions. The impact of automating Antarctic traverse will be to increase the ... [More]
May 03, 2011 Felix Duvallet - noon [poster]
"Imitation Learning for Task Allocation"
At the heart of multi-robot task allocation lies the ability to compare multiple options in order to select the best, a process grounded in the concept of utility. In some domains however, computing utility is not straightforward, for example due to complex underlying dynamics, heterogeneous agents, or an unmodeled adversary. Explicitly modeling these extrinsic influences well enough so that ... [More]
Apr 26, 2011 Nisarg Kothari [poster]
"Robust Indoor Localization on a Cell Phone" [slides]
GPS capabilities have revolutionized outdoor navigation in the last decade, but similar systems for indoor environments have yet to see mass consumer adoption. Potential applications for such a system include giving people directions in airports and malls and providing the visually impaired with more freedom and autonomy. To be truly useful to people in everyday life, ... [More]
Apr 15, 2011 Hatem Al Ismail - 2pm NSH 1507 [poster]
"Stereo Visual Odometry for Pipe Inspection" [slides]
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing facilities contain large complex networks of pipes of varying diameter and orientation intermixed with control valves, processes and sensors. Regular inspection of these pipes for corrosion is critical for safety. Popular existing non-destructive technologies that used for corrosion inspection in LNG pipes include Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL), ... [More]
Apr 12, 2011 Jacqueline Libby [poster]
"Acoustic Self-Awareness for Outdoor Robotic Vehicles"
Outdoor mobile robots are increasingly maturing in their ability to handle complex environments; however, a robot is only as good as its perception system, and often these perception systems fail. This calls for the use of more sensors to be integrated into such systems that can complement the sensors already on board. Far range sensors such as vision and lidar are powerful tools for ... [More]
Mar 22, 2011 [rescheduled from Feb 22] Gustavo Freitas [poster]
"Environmental Hybrid Robot - a mobile amphibious system developed to operate in the Amazon Rain Forest" [slides]
The Environmental Hybrid Robot is being designed by the Brazilian Oil Company Petrobras S.A. for monitoring missions in the Amazon rain forest region close to the Coari-Manaus pipeline. An innovative locomotion system was developed according to the conditions encountered in the Amazon. The wheel-legged architecture is adopted. Aiming to enable the robot to float in the water, ... [More]
Mar 01, 2011 Marcel Bergerman - special location: GHC 6115 [poster]
"My Recipe for Leadership" [slides]
Leadership is one of those concepts that is easier to define than to fully explain. For a definition all one has to do is turn to the dictionary. The problem is that these definitions do not tell me how one becomes a leader. Since I do not believe in natural born leaders, I set out to define a recipe that I could use to measure one's leadership level, including my own. ... [More]
Feb 08, 2011 Gokhan Bayar [poster]
"Design of a Mobile Robot"
An autonomous mobile robot and/or unmanned ground vehicle is a special vehicle which has the capability of navigating on its own. Since the vehicle should be self behaving and self tuning, it has to run and response to its workspace in which it operates without any interaction from outside. It should be able to sense and model its work space to a sufficient degree, position itself, ... [More]
Jan 25, 2011 Red Whittaker - 11am in NSH 3305 [poster]
"Landing the Lunar X-Prize"
Robots are transforming the future of the moon. Robot prospectors will find water, methane and metals. Robotic explorations will survey skylights, visit poles and map caves unseen from orbit. New enterprises are stretching beyond traditional government missions to deliver this future. We are embarked to privately land and rove on the moon. The agendas of the first mission are exploration, ... [More]
Nov 30, 2010 Forrest Rogers-Marcovitz [poster]
"On-line Mobile Robot Model Identification using Integrated Perturbative Dynamics"
We present an approach to the problem of real-time identification of vehicle motion models based on fitting, on a continuous basis, parametrized slip models to observed behavior. Our approach is unique in that we generate parametric models capturing the dynamics of systematic error (i.e. slip) and then predict trajectories for arbitrary inputs on arbitrary terrain. ... [More]
Nov 09, 2010 Sanjiv Singh [poster]
"A process for conducting (doctoral) research in robotics" [slides]
Conducting cutting edge research, especially at the doctoral level can be a confusing task. At once one must get familiar with the state of the art, identify interesting problems that have a hope of being solved and then connect them with appropriate approaches, hopefully ending with a significant contribution with compelling examples. Tall order! At first blush the process seems to defy any ... [More]
Oct 19, 2010 Somchaya Liemhetcharat [poster]
"Map-Merging-Free Connectivity Positioning for Distributed Robot Teams"
We consider a set of static towers with communication capabilities, but not within range of each other due to distance and obstacles. The goal is to achieve connectivity among the towers through a set of robots positioned in a way to act as gateways among the towers. The autonomous mobile robots are initially randomly deployed without necessarily being within range of each other, ... [More]
Sep 28, 2010 Danilo Bassi [poster]
"Mission control of autonomous vehicles based on time logic framework" [slides]
This talk presents recent research of mission control of autonomous vehicle based on time logic framework. First an introduction to the topic of autonomous vehicles, the different control levels and the problem of mission control, is given. Then a logic control paradigm is proposed to deal with the mission control specification and solution. This approach is based on the use of linear temporal ... [More]
Sep 21, 2010 Lyle Chamberlain [poster]
"Self-Aware Helicopters: A New Era for Vertical Flight"
Helicopters are useful but dangerous. A helicopter flies close to things in routine execution of its varied missions. Sometimes things go wrong and a helicopter comes into contact with an object, usually with catastrophic results. Recently our group at CMU has demonstrated technology that gives the helicopter the gift of common sense: it knows about its environment and how to act ... [More]
Sep 14, 2010 Abhinav Valada [poster]
"Design and Development of a Multi-Hop Routing Protocol for Distributed Sensing Applications" [slides]
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN's) is a field that has attracted the attention of many researchers these past few years. The potential applications of wireless sensor networks are immense. They are used for various applications such as habitat monitoring, agriculture, nuclear reactor control, security, etc. In this talk, I will describe the new multi-hop routing protocol that I designed for ... [More]
Aug 31, 2010 Peter Ian Hansen [poster]
"Towards a visual perception system for LNG pipe inspection" [slides]
Regular inspection for corrosion of the pipes used in Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing facilities is critical for safety. We argue that a visual perception system equipped on a pipe crawling robot can improve on existing non-destructive techniques (Magnetic Flux Leakage, radiography, ultrasound) by producing high resolution registered appearance maps of the internal surface. ... [More]
Aug 24, 2010 Hatem Al Ismail - special dual presentation, 11:30am [poster]
"Evaluating Pose Estimation Methods for Stereo Visual Odometry on Robots" [slides]
In this talk we present a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of several pose estimation algorithms used in real-time visual odometry for mobile robots. Pose estimation plays a critical role in the stereo Structure-from-Motion visual odometry framework. Feature points are extracted at every frame and used to triangulate 3D structure. Correspondence between feature points at every frame allows ... [More]
Aug 24, 2010 Ayorkor Korsah - special dual presentation, 11am [poster]
"Improving Market-Based Task Allocation with Optimal Seed Schedules" [slides]
Task allocation impacts the performance efficiency of agent teams in significant ways. Due to their efficient and proven performance, Market-based task allocation approaches have grown in popularity for many such multi-agent domains. In addition, market-based approaches are very well suited to dynamic domains such as emergency response, in which the set of the tasks or the environment changes in ... [More]