John Yao


I am a PhD student in the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. I work with Dr. Nathan Michael in the Robust Adaptive Systems Laboratory.

John Yao Portrait

Research Interests

My research focus is modeling the influence of spatiotemporal flow fields on robot motion to inform planning and control. This work has primarily been applied to quadrotor micro air vehicles that are impacted by flow disturbances such as outdoor wind gusts and induced airflow in confined spaces. By predicting the feasibility of potential motions given constraints on vehicle sensing, computation, and actuation, the safety and efficiency of robot operations in flow fields can be improved. Current applications of this research include bridge inspection and rooftop inspection with rotorcraft micro air vehicles.

Quadrotor Indoor Outdoor Transition


J. W. Yao, V. R. Desaraju, and N. Michael. “Experience-Based Models of Surface Proximal Aerial Robot Flight Performance in Wind.” International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER), October 2016. [PDF]


  • Ph.D. Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013-Present
  • M.S. Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013-2016
  • B.A.Sc. Engineering Science (Aerospace Major), University of Toronto, 2009-2013
  • Contact Information

    Email: johnyao AT cmu DOT edu

    2211 Newell Simon Hall,
    Robotics Institute,
    5000 Forbes Avenue,
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213