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College of Engineering Faculty Lecture: Geoff Hollinger

Decision Making for Marine Robotics

Underwater gliders, propeller-driven submersibles, and other marine robots are increasingly being tasked with gathering information (e.g., in environmental monitoring, offshore inspection, and coastal surveillance scenarios). However, in most existing scenarios, human operators must carefully plan the mission to ensure completion of the task. Strict human oversight not only makes such deployments expensive and time consuming but also makes some tasks impossible due to the requirement for heavy cognitive loads or reliable communication between the operator and the vehicle. We can mitigate these limitations by making the underwater robotic systems semi-autonomous, where the human provides high-level input to the system and the robot fills in the details on how to execute the plan.  

This lecture will discuss how a general framework that unifies information theoretic optimization and robot motion planning makes semi-autonomous information gathering feasible in marine environments. The presentation will leverage techniques from multi-robot coordination, reinforcement learning, and topological modeling to provide solutions for (1) multi-vehicle information gathering, (2) navigation with semantic commands, and (3) robust marine vehicle path execution. Finally, the lecture will present results from a recent deployment in the Gulf of Mexico where a team of six heterogeneous underwater and surface vehicles successfully tracked multiple coastal upwelling fronts over a 10-day period using the proposed methods. 

Geoff Hollinger is an associate professor in the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute and the School of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University. He has previously held research positions at the University of Southern California, Intel Research, University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He received his Ph.D. (2010) and M.S. (2007) in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and his B.S. in General Engineering along with his B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College (2005). He is a recipient of the ONR YIP award (2017) and the NSF CAREER award (2019) and has served as associate editor for the Autonomous Robots and IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters journals. 

Tuesday, March 21

Virtual Event
Event Type

Lecture or Presentation

Event Topic

Academic, Research


Community Members, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, Industry Partner, Online




College of Engineering, Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering
Contact Name

Brad Canfield

Contact Email

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