Joshua Mangelson earns Robotics Alumni Award

Over homecoming, Dr. Joshua Mangelson received the 2023 Robotics Department Alumni Merit Award. As part of the homecoming visit, Dr. Mangelson presented the Robotics Alumni Award Lecture, “Steps Towards Intelligent Large-Scale Marine Robotic Autonomy,” for the robotics community.

Dr. Mangelson became the very first person to earn a PhD degree in Robotics from the University of Michigan. He was one of five brave students in the first cohort who joined the new program. They accepted the risks, but also realized the reward, of defining the discipline of robotics.

While at U-M, Dr. Mangelson studied how robots perceive and move about the world, helping robots complete tasks such as underwater inspection of boats and infrastructure. This research earned a Best Paper Award at the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

Following graduation, Dr. Mangelson held post-doctoral appointments in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering here at Michigan and in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Mangelson is now teaching others as an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Brigham Young University. There, he founded the Field Robotic Systems Lab, focusing on enabling the development of robust and reliable mobile field-robotic systems that are able to work in complex, unstructured real-world environments.

In recognition of his talent and impact on the field, he was named the David C. Evans Chair of Engineering and Graphics. The chair is given to a different professor every five years in recognition of past performance and support in future work.

He has continued to make noteworthy contributions to his field, and these have been recognized with numerous honors and awards, such as the 2022 BYU Presidential Innovation Award.