The Robotics Institute
RI | Seminar | November 7

Robotics Institute Seminar, November 7
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Autonomous Navigation for Outdoor, Off-Road Environments

Tony Stentz
Research Professor
Robotics Institute, CMU

Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm


For over 20 years roboticists have been working on the problem of autonomous ground vehicle navigation in outdoor, off-road environments. The potential benefits are immense: autonomous machines can venture where it is too expensive or dangerous to send humans. So why isn't the problem solved? Why aren't autonomous vehicles everywhere? The answer is that the problem is very general and rich, and even limited instances of it are challenging. But steady progress has been made, and we are on the brink of deployment for a variety of applications.

In this talk, I will define the dimensions of the problem, explain what is easy and what is difficult, and identify high-impact subproblems. I will describe the component technologies required to autonomously drive a wheeled vehicle across outdoor terrain in a safe manner. My talk will cover perception, including the sensors typically employed and the algorithms for interpreting sensor data. I will discuss path planning, including global planning for route selection and local planning for obstacle avoidance. I will touch on other topics as well, including position estimation, human/machine interfaces, and system integration. My talk will feature results from several of my research programs at CMU. I will conclude with directions for future research in this area.

Speaker Biographies

Tony Stentz is a Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and Associate Director of the Robotics Institutes National Robotics Engineering Consortium. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon in 1989, his M.S. in computer science from CMU in 1984, and his B.S. in physics from Xavier University of Ohio in 1982. Tony's research expertise includes unmanned vehicle navigation, dynamic planning, and multi-vehicle coordination in the context of fieldworthy systems. His current and past projects include automated machines for agriculture, mining, security and reconnaissance, and planetary exploration.

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.