UM Roboticist Prof. Ed Olson Stands the Test of Time!

Michigan Robotics is proud to highlight that one of its founding members, Prof. Ed Olson, has made the inaugural list of the Google Scholar “Classic Papers That Have Stood The Test of Time.”  You can find Ed’s paper listed here, and general background for this list is given here.

If you check out Ed on his website, you’ll find that he is withstanding the test of time rather well himself.

Necmiye Ozay Wins Hybrid Systems Prize

For her outstanding work in hybrid systems, a theoretical area very important to robotics, Professor Necmiye Ozay has received a major best paper award. The details of her award are here. Necmiye’s work on Correct-by-Design Control Software Synthesis is aimed at breaking down the barriers that have prevented this field from tackling important industrial problems. In the paper, she and her co-author develop finite abstractions that are equipped with robustness margins, allowing sensing and model imperfections to be addressed in a formally correct manner. They apply the results to Adaptive Cruise Control, an important Automated Drive Assist System, and point out other important applications in robotics and autonomous vehicles.

A new robotic navigation method: Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM)

In dynamic environments crowded with people, robot motion planning becomes difficult due to the complex and tightly-coupled interactions between agents. Trajectory planning methods, supported by models of typical human behavior and personal space, often produce reasonable behavior. However, they do not account for the future closed loop interactions of other agents with the trajectory being constructed. As a consequence, the trajectories are unable to anticipate cooperative interactions (such as a human yielding), or adverse interactions (such as the robot blocking the way). We propose a new method – Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) for navigation amongst pedestrians in which the trajectory of the robot is not explicitly planned, but instead, a planning process selects one of a set of closed-loop behaviors whose utility can be predicted through forward simulation.

Read more.

Here is the MPDM presentation by Dhanvin Mehta, Gonzalo Ferrer and Edwin Olson, U-M, Ann Arbor.

U-M CSE Graduate Students present papers at ICAPS 2017

CSE graduate students Qi Zhang and Shun Zhang will present exciting research papers at ICAPS 2017, the 27th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, taking place this June at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA.

Here are the papers:

Minimizing Maximum Regret in Commitment Constrained Sequential Decision Making

Approximately-Optimal Queries for Planning in Reward-Uncertain Markov Decision Processes


A Shoutout to Two Michigan PhDs in Robotics

Science RoboticsThe research of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics alum Dr. Alireza Ramezani is featured on the February cover of Science Robotics. Dr. Ramezani defended his dissertation, “Feedback Control Design for MARLO, a 3D-Bipedal Robot,” in 2013. 

The U-M Mathematics Department has awarded Hamed Razavi with the 2016 Sumner B. Myers Prize, which honors the best PhD thesis in mathematics.  No award is made unless a thesis is judged to be truly distinguished:
Hamed Razavi, “Symmetry Method for Limit Cycle Walking of Legged Robots”, co-advised by Tony Bloch (Math) and Jessy Grizzle (EECS).
Michigan Daily 2/5/17 article 

Take another look at robotic locomotion and morphology!

Selecting gaits for economical locomotion of legged robots

This paper explores the benefits of using multiple gaits in a single robot.

Weitao Xi, Yevgeniy Yseilevskiy, C. David Remy
Sage journals


Research on the simultaneous optimization of motion and morphology; comparing different actuators in legged robots:

A comparison of series and parallel elasticity in a Monoped hopper

Optimal configuration of series and parallel elasticity in a 2D Monoped

The video of the comparison:



Open-access Automated Cars Will Advance Driverless Research

New University of Michigan research vehicles will be open testbeds for academic and industry researchers to rapidly test self-driving and connected vehicle technologies at a world-class proving ground – Mcity.   

A roundabout at Mcity.
Mcity, a test site for autonomous vehicles that emulates the urban driving experience, is just half a mile from the Robotics Institute site.

Michigan Engineering article.          

Strolling Among the Fall Colors & MARLO vs Wave Field II – aka “Fall/No Fall”

snapshot-1-11-11-2016-8-43-amResearch has its super intense moments and its pleasures. In the video MARLO vs. Wave Field our intrepid bipedal friend renews an ongoing battle, this time equipped with a new nonlinear control algorithm incorporating machine learning. More recently, MARLO took a stroll near SRB and the Wave Field, with the objective of enjoying the beautiful fall colors.