Robotics and autonomous systems enable us to interact more richly and extensively with the world we live in. Aerial, ground, and marine robots have given us unprecedented access to some of the most dramatic landscapes and habitats in our universe. Aerial and ground robots have mapped the three dimensional spatio-temporal geometry of the Earth’s surface which gives us better understanding of erosion, transport and sedimentation, as well as earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. Marine robots have tracked the health of coral reefs and the melting of tidewater glaciers which are harbingers of climate change. In this talk, I will highlight our efforts in developing robotic systems and strategies in support of ocean sciences and geology. I will show how understanding the complexities of the ocean enables us to develop more effective robotic strategies both in the ocean and on land. I will conclude with our recent collaborations with geologists and discuss the unique challenges in developing robotic systems in support of geological data collection.
M. Ani Hsieh is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests lie at the intersection of robotics, multi-agent systems, and dynamical systems theory. Hsieh and the members of the ScalAR Lab design algorithms for estimation, control, and planning for multi-agent robotic systems with applications in environmental monitoring, estimation and prediction of complex dynamics, and design of collective behaviors. She is a member of the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception) Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.S. in Engineering and B.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Penn, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics at Drexel University. Hsieh is the recipient of a 2012 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award and a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.