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Fall 2011 GRASP Seminar – Russ Tedrake, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Robust Motion Planning for Walking Robots and Robotic Birds”

November 11, 2011 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Abstract: Building
robots that can walk or fly with the dexterity of an animal is hard.  
Our best models of these robots are complicated because they are
nonlinear and underactuated, and because the robots are fundamentally
subjected to large sources of uncertainty relative to their control
authority – for instance, large disturbances like a gust of wind and/or
model uncertainty because they are locomoting on unknown terrain.
 While the field of robotics has seen some success from “intuitive”
controllers based on simple models, I believe that a more algorithmic
approach is required to scale much beyond the complexity and
performance of today’s robots.  In
this talk, I will demonstrate that combinations of randomized motion
planning and trajectory optimization can produce open-loop trajectories
for models of the required complexity (nonlinear, hybrid,
underactuated).  But when one goes to implement these on the real
systems, they inevitably fail, in part because trajectory motion
planning by itself doesn’t provide any language for talking about
robustness. Therefore, I’ll describe tools from robustness analysis
(both linear and nonlinear), feedback planning, and planning in belief
space that can help close this gap, and produce solutions that work on
real systems.  These ingredients can be added on top of most existing
motion planners, and can make a substantial difference when working
with high-performance dynamic robots.


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is the X Consortium Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science and Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and a member
of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. He is a
recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the MIT Jerome Saltzer Award for
undergraduate teaching, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, and was named a
Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellow. Russ
received his B.S.E. in Computer Engineering from the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1999, and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science from MIT in 2004, working with Sebastian Seung.
After graduation, he joined the MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Department as a Postdoctoral Associate. During his education, he has
also spent time at Microsoft, Microsoft Research, and the Santa Fe


November 11, 2011
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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