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Challenges and opportunities in distributed, autonomous systems

The continued development of inexpensive sensors, embedded computation, and communication networks has greatly increased the opportunity for designing, deploying, and controlling large interconnected systems. Applications range from "smart" structures embedded with sensors, actuators, and compute power, to multi-vehicle autonomous systems. This talk will present our experiences with these types of systems, ranging from the very theoretical to the very applied. New tools for designing distributed control systems, based on semi-definite programming, are presented. Not only do these tools lead to distributed control systems, the actual design of the control system can be performed in a distributed fashion, thus opening the door for a rigorous approach to real-time adaptation and reconfiguration. Our experiences with multi-vehicle systems will also be discussed: i) The Cornell Autonomous Robot Soccer Team, which has won the international RoboCup competition four times since 1999. Various footage from the competitions in Sweden, Australia, the U.S., Japan, and Italy will be shown. ii) The use of acrobatic, autonomous flying vehicles to form airborne, phased array antennas. iii) A rapidly growing Boston area start-up company that provides a customer solution involving hundreds of autonomous vehicles, which could potentially be the first "killer-app" for autonomous, distributed, and networked mobile robots in an industrial setting.
Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Prof. Raffaelo D'andrea
Sibley School of Mech. & Aero. Engr., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Sep 09, 2004   17:15

ETH-Zentrum, ETZ E6, Gloriastrasse 35, 8006 Zurich
Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morari
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Biographical Sketch:
Raffaello D'Andrea received the BASc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto in 1991, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1992 and 1997, respectively. Since then, he has been with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, where he is an Associate Professor. He is also Vice President of Systems Architecture for Distrobot Systems Incorporated. He has been a recipient of the University of Toronto W.S. Wilson Medal in Engineering Science, an IEEE Conference on Decision and Control best student paper award, an American Control Council O.Hugo Schuck Best Paper award, an NSF CAREER Award, and a DOD sponsored Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He was the system architect and faculty advisor of the RoboCup world champion Cornell Autonomous Robot Soccer team in 1999 (Stockholm, Sweden), 2000 (Melbourne, Australia), 2002 (Fukuoka, Japan), and 2003 (Padova, Italy), and third place winner in 2001 (Seattle, USA). His recent collaboration with Canadian artist Max Dean, ``The Table'', an interactive installation, appeared in the Biennale di Venezia in 2001. It was on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2002 and 2003, and is now part of its permanent collection.