At the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar studies the control and coordination of multi-robot formations.
At the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, at the University of Pennsylvania, flying quadrotor robots move together in eerie formation, tightening themselves into perfect battalions, even filling in the gap when one of their own drops out. You might have seen viral videos of the quads zipping around the netting-draped GRASP Lab (they juggle! they fly through a hula hoop!). Vijay Kumar headed this lab from 1998-2004; he's now the Deputy Dean for Education in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, where he continues his work in robotics, blending computer science and mechanical engineering to create the next generation of robotic wonders.
“[Agile aerial] robots like this have many applications. You can send them inside buildings as first responders to look for intruders, maybe look for biochemical leaks … [or they] can be used for transporting cargo.”
“The dynamics of [quadrotor robots] are quite complicated. In fact, they live in a 12-dimensional space.”