The Robotics Institute
RI | Seminar | September 5

Robotics Institute Seminar, September 5
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

vSLAM: A low-cost approach to visual localization for consumer robotics (slides)

Paolo Pirjanian, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist,
Evolution Robotics, Inc.

Time and Place

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


Over the recent years we have witnessed a growing number of robotic products make their way into consumer markets. While these products can arguably be viewed as robots, they provide very little autonomous or intelligent functionality. All robotics vacuum cleaners, for instance, use random navigation for floor coverage because they cannot rely on odometry for localization. Meanwhile, the research community is developing sophisticated techniques for localization and mapping. How can we close the gap between the technologies that come out of the research labs and the technologies that go into consumer and commercial products? I will discuss the challenges of developing technologies for affordable, useful, and reliable consumer robotic products. I will present our solution to visual, simultaneous localization and mapping called vSLAM. vSLAM is a first-of-a-kind, breakthrough technology for localization and mapping that requires only one low-cost camera and odometry (e.g., wheel encoders). This solution provides up to 100 times reduction in cost when compared to more traditional range-based SLAM techniques which use sonars or laser range finders. Because of its low cost and robust performance in realistic environments vSLAM is particularly well-suited for use in consumer and commercial products.

Speaker Biography

Paolo Pirjanian is the Chief Scientist at Evolution Robotics, Inc and heads the R&D efforts in developing core technologies for consumer and commercial robotics products. His main work is focused around vision-based navigation, control architectures, and human-robot interaction. Paolo is also a part-time lecturer at the Computer Science department of University of Southern California. Prior to joining Evolution Robotics, Paolo initiated several research thrusts on multi-robot systems for space exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA. This research resulted in a multi-robot control architecture known as CAMPOUT and the Cliffbot, an ensemble of three robots for high-risk access on cliff-walls. He received his Ph.D. degree in robotics from Aalborg University, Denmark where he also served as a research professor.

Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Illah Nourbakhsh (

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