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Keynote Lectures

Field-hardened Resilient Robotic Autonomy
Kostas Alexis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

Pioneering Flying Robots
Roland Siegwart, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

 

Field-hardened Resilient Robotic Autonomy

Kostas Alexis
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Norway
 

Brief Bio
Kostas Alexis obtained his Ph.D. in the field of aerial robotics control and collaboration from the University of Patras, Greece in 2011. His Ph.D. research was supported by the Greek National-European Commission Excellence scholarship. After successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis, he was awarded a Swiss Government fellowship and moved to Switzerland and ETH Zurich. From 2012 to June 2015 he held the position of Senior Researcher at the Autonomous Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, leading the lab efforts in the fields of control and path planning for advanced navigational and operational autonomy. During summer 2015 he moved to the Computer Science & Engineering Department of the University of Nevada, Reno where he got tenured in 2020. Since Fall 2020 he moved to the Department of Engineering Cybernetics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as a Full Professor. He is the founder and director of the Autonomous Robots Lab (https://www.autonomousrobotslab.com/) involving more than 15 researchers and conducting research in the domain of autonomy, perception, planning and control. Dr. Alexis' research has received multiple awards, includes the world record in unmanned aircraft endurance, and has been funded by a variety of sources including DARPA, NSF, DOE, USDA, NASA, the European Commission, the Norwegian Research Council the private sector and other sources.


Abstract
This talk will present our contributions in the domain of field-hardened resilient robotic autonomy and specifically on multi-modal sensing-degraded GPS-denied localization and mapping, informative path planning, and robust control to facilitate reliable access, exploration, mapping and search of challenging environments such as subterranean settings. The presented work will, among others, emphasize on fundamental developments taking place in the framework of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge and the research of the CERBERUS (https://www.subt-cerberus.org/) team, alongside work on nuclear site characterization and infrastructure inspection. Relevant field results from both active and abandoned underground mines as well as tunnels in the U.S. and in Switzerland will be presented. In addition, a selected set of prior works on long-term autonomy, including the world-record on unmanned aircraft endurance will be briefly overviewed. The talk will conclude with directions for future research to enable advanced autonomy and resilience, alongside the necessary connection to education and the potential for major broader impacts to the benefit of our economy and society.



 

 

Pioneering Flying Robots

Roland Siegwart
ETH Zurich
Switzerland
 

Brief Bio
Roland Siegwart (born in 1959) is professor for autonomous mobile robots at ETH Zurich, founding co-director of the Wyss Zurich and member of the board of directors of multiple high tech companies. He studied mechanical engineering at ETH, brought up a spin-off company, spent ten years as professor at EPFL Lausanne (1996 – 2006), was vice president of ETH Zurich (2010 -2014) and held visiting positions at Stanford University and NASA Ames.
He is and was the coordinator of multiple European projects and co-founder of half a dozen spin-off companies. He is IEEE Fellow and recipient of the IEEE RAS Pioneer award and the IEEE RAS Inaba Technical Award. He is on the editorial board of multiple journals in robotics and was a general chair of several conferences in robotics including IROS 2002, AIM 2007, FSR 2007, ISRR 2009, FSR 2017 and CoRL 2018. His interests are in the design and navigation of wheeled, walking and flying robots operating in complex and highly dynamical environments. Hi is a strong promotor of innovation and entrepreneurship.


Abstract
For fast search & rescue or inspection of complex environments, flying robots are probably the most efficient and versatile devices. However, the limited flight time and payload, as well as the restricted computing power of drones renders autonomous operations quite challenging. This talk will focus on the design and autonomous navigation of flying robots. Innovative designs of flying systems, from novel concepts of omni-directional multi-copters to solar airplanes for continuous flights are presented. Recent results of visual and laser based navigation (localization, mapping, planning) in GPS denied environments are showcased and discussed. Performance and potential applications are presented.



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