Past Projects

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Robot Motion Planning

Our work in motion planning has three goals. First, we are interested in topological representations of the set of possible trajectories called homologies, the effect of environment uncertainty on these homology classes, and exploration of partially known environments by multiple robots using topological (instead of metric) information. Second, we are interested in how these topological representations can lead to natural human robot interaction. Finally, we are interested in motion planning algorithms for large teams of robots with dynamic constraints, especially when the robots are identical and therefore interchangeable.  For more information, visit websites of researchers below.

Research Staff: Subhrajit Bhattacharya
Students: Tee Ramaithitima
RAPID: Aerial Robots for Remote Autonomous Exploration and Mapping

We are interested in exploring the possibility of leveraging an autonomous quadrotor in earthquake-damaged environments through field experiments that focus on cooperative mapping using both ground and aerial robots. Aerial robots offer several advantages over ground robots, including the ability to maneuver through complex three-dimensional (3D) environments and gather data from vantages inaccessible to ground robots. We consider an earthquake-damaged building with multiple floors that are generally accessible to ground robots. However, various locations in the environment are inaccessible to the ground robots due to debris or clutter. The goal is the generation of 3D maps that capture the layout of the environment and provide insight into the degree of damage inside the building. Read More …

Grants: NSF Rapid, MAST
Students: Yash Mulgaonkar, Kartik Mohta, Tolga Ozaslan
Human-Robot Coordinated Manipulation and Transportation

We will address the fundamental challenges of cooperative human-robot object manipulation and transportation, based on the precise formulation and rigorous solution of problems in perception, cognition, and control. The key concepts that this research seeks to promote are adaptability to human activity under minimal communication, and robustness to variability and uncertainty in the environment, achieved through a layered representation and deliberate processing of the available information. Moreover, this project aims to make maximum use of a minimal set of sensors to plan and control the actions of the robot, while ensuring safe and efficient cooperative transportation. For more information, visit websites of researchers below.

Grants: Human-robot Coordinated Manipulation and Transportation of Large Objects, TROOPER
Research Staff: Dinesh Thakur
Students: Monroe KennedyMike Watterson
Autonomous Robotic Rotorcraft for Exploration, Surveillance and Transportation (ARREST)

In this NSF sponsored Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) project, we are creating partnerships with small-business entrepreneurs in the area of micro aerial vehicles with applications to agriculture, security, law enforcement and first response. The partnership will enable the translation of fundamental, federally-sponsored, research results into products with societal benefits and commercial impact by implementing a loosely structured, commercially focused “play-like sandbox” environment among its partners. The Y-Prize competition at Penn is designed to explore novel applications and create new companies.

Students: Mickey Whitzer, Justin Thomas, Kartik Mohta