Opportunities and Challenges in Autonomy for Small Aerial Vehicles

Vijay Kumar, University of Pennsylvania

The last decade has seen significant advances in robotics and artificial intelligence leading to an irrational exuberance in technology. I will discuss the challenges of realizing autonomous flight in environments with obstacles in the absence of GPS. I will describe our approaches to state estimation and designing perception-action loops for high speed navigation with applications to precision agriculture and first response. Finally, I will discuss some of limitations with current approaches in the field and challenges in robotics and autonomy.

Speaker Biography

Vijay Kumar is the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Since joining the faculty in 1987 he has served Penn Engineering in many capacities, including Deputy Dean for Research, Deputy Dean for Education, Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Director of the GRASP Laboratory, a multidisciplinary robotics and perception laboratory. Dr. Kumar has served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2012 – 2013). He received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987.