Rogerio Bonatti

Ph.D. Student, CMU
rbonatti [at]

Email / CV / LinkedIn / Publications


I am a PhD student at The Robotics Institute, at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. I am advised by Prof. Sebastian Scherer.

My research focus is at the intersection of machine learning theory with motion planning, where I create methods for robust robot intelligence in real-world settings. My work has been deployed for multiple applications, ranging from autonomous cinematography with aerial vehicles all the way to drone racing.

During the summer of 2019 I completed an awesome internship at Microsoft Research collaborating with Ashish Kapoor and Vibhav Vineet. Before grad school I studied Mechatronics Engineering at University of São Paulo, Brazil, and I also spent one year at Cornell University.

Selected News

June 2020 Honored to receive the Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant to help support my PhD thesis!
May 2020 Excited to start a summer internship at Facebook AI Research!
March 2020 Microsoft Research released an article about our work on imitation learning for drone racing
Dec 2019 Our journal paper on Aerial Cinematography was accepted at the Journal of Field Robotics. Also featured in Gizmodo, Nvidia Developer Blog, and CMU
Nov 2019 Excited to give an invited talk at DJI in Shenzhen, China
Nov 2019 Our paper on learned aerial filming is one of the three best paper finalists at the IROS Vision-Based Drones Workshop
Sept 2019 Recipient of the Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellowship, and selected to join the Fall'19 NSF ICorps program.
Aug 2019 Excited to give invited research talks at University of Washington, Apple, and Microsoft in Seattle
June 2019 Two papers accepted at IROS, and one presented at ICRA
May 2019 Spent a lovely summer at Microsoft Research working on imitation learning and sim-to-real policy transfer with Ashish Kapoor, Vibhav Vineet, and Ratnesh Madaan
Aug 2018 Two papers accepted at ISER and CoRL


  • R. Bonatti, R. Madaan, V. Vineet, A. Kapoor, "Learning Visuomotor Policies for Aerial Navigation Using Cross-Modal Representations". In submission, 2020 [PDF] [Video]

  • Journals
  • R. Bonatti, W. Wang, C. Ho, A. Ahuja, M. Gschwindt, E. Camci, E. Kayacan, S. Choudhury, S. Scherer, "Autonomous Aerial Cinematography Among Unstructured Environments With Learned Artistic Decision-Making". Journal of Field Robotics, 2019 [Link] [PDF] [Video]

  • Peer-reviewed conferences
  • R. Bonatti, H. Cherie, W. Wenshan, S. Choudhury, S. Scherer, "Towards a Robust Aerial Cinematography Platform: Localizing and Tracking Moving Targets in Unstructured Environments". International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019 [PDF] [Video]
  • • M. Gschwindt, E. Camci, R. Bonatti, W. Wenshan, S. Scherer, "Can a Robot Become a Movie Director? Learning Artistic Principles for Aerial Cinematography". International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019 [PDF] [Video]
  • • W. Wang, A. Ahuja, Y. Zhang, R. Bonatti, S. Scherer, "Improved Generalization of Heading Direction Estimation for Aerial Filming Using Semi-supervised Regression". International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2019 [PDF] [Video]
  • R. Bonatti, Y.Zhang, S. Choudhury, W. Wang, S. Scherer, "Autonomous drone cinematographer: Using artistic principles to create smooth, safe, occlusion-free trajectories for aerial filming". International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER), 2018 [PDF] [Video 1] [Video 2] [Video 3]
  • • Y.Zhang, W. Wang, R. Bonatti, D. Maturana, S. Scherer, "Integrating kinematics and environment context into deep inverse reinforcement learning for predicting off-road vehicle trajectories". Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 2018 [PDF] [Video]
  • • M. Yakhnis, R. Bonatti, R. Gryszko, and C. Obiejesi, "Influence of Building Geometry on Wind Power Potential", in 2014 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Conference AIAA, 2014 [PDF]
  • R. Bonatti, A.F. Cruz, and H.T. Moriya, "Design and Characterization of a Volume-Cycled Small Animal Mechanical Ventilator Coupled with a Respiratory System Model", in VI Latin American Congress on Biomedical Engineering CLAIB, 2014 [PDF]
  • Workshops
  • [Best paper finalist]R. Bonatti, W. Wang, C. Ho, A. Ahuja, M. Gschwindt, E. Camci, E. Kayacan, S. Choudhury, S. Scherer, "Autonomous Aerial Cinematography Among Unstructured Environments With Learned Artistic Decision-Making". Journal of Field Robotics, 2019 [PDF]
  • • Y.Zhang*, W. Wang*, R. Bonatti*, D. Maturana, S. Scherer, "Autonomous Cinematography using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles". IROS Vision-based Drones Workshop, 2018. *Equal contribution [PDF]
  • • R. Madaan, R. Bonatti, D.M Saxena and S. Scherer, "Deep Flight: Autonomous Quadrotor Navigation with Deep Reinforcement Learning", Workshop on Learning perception and control for autonomous flight: safety, memory, and efficiency, Robotics Science and Systems RSS, 2017 [PDF] [Longer PDF] [Video]
  • R. Bonatti, A.G. de Paula, V.S. Lamarca and F.G. Cozman, "Effect of Part-of-Speech and Lemmatization Filtering in Email Classification for Automatic Reply", Workshop on Knowledge Extraction from Text, AAAI, 2016 [PDF]
  • R. Bonatti, and H.T. Moriya, "Small animal mechanical ventilator with control software", in XX International Scientific Initiation Symposium of the University of São Paulo (SIICUSP), 2012 (in Portuguese) [PDF]
  • Thesis
  • R. Bonatti, A.G. de Paula, "Development of Email Classifier in Brazilian Portuguese Using Feature Selection for Automatic Response", Senior Thesis at University of São Paulo, Dept. of Mechatronic Engineering, 2015 [PDF]


2016 - 2021 (expected)

Ph.D., Robotics

Carnegie Mellon University, Robotics Institute

Pittsburgh, PA
Research Advisor: Prof. Sebastian Scherer

2011 - 2016

B.S., Mechatronics Engineering - Robotics

University of São Paulo, Polytechnic School

São Paulo, Brazil
GPA: 8.7/10, non-curved, top 3/800
Senior Thesis: Development of email classifier in Brazilian Portuguese for automatic response
Research Advisor: Prof. Fabio Cozman

Jan 2013 - Dec 2013

Study abroad, Mechanical Engineering

Cornell University, College of Engineering

Ithaca, NY
GPA: 4.08 / 4.30
One-year study program. Full scholarship by Brazil's Ministry of Education
Research Advisor: Prof. Ephrahim Garcia

Awards and honors

• 2019: James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellowship
• 2017-2019: Travel awards: RSS’17, ISER’18, IROS’19, CMU Provost
• 2017: CMU School of Computer Science Technology and Entertainment Proposal for Autonomous Drone Cinematographer ($60,000)
• 2014-2016: Fundacão Estudar Merit Scholarship for outstanding trajectory and academic potential, 28 recipients out of 31,000+ applicants (~$10,000)
• 2012-2014: The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) scholarship for undergraduate research (~$3,000)
• 2013: Dean's List, Cornell University
• 2013: Full scholarship from Brazil's Ministry of Education for one-year study program at Cornell University, College of Engineering (~$75,000)
• 2011: Entered the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo in 3rd/10,600 applicants
• 2011: "PACE Course Competition Engineering Design Graphics", 2nd place, sponsored by GM, Autodesk, HP, Oracle, Siemens
• 2010: High school valedictorian - Colegio Visconde de Porto Seguro, São Paulo, Brazil
• 2010: Gold Medal, Brazilian Physics Olympiad, OBF (top 20 from over 50,000 competitors)

Work Experience

May 2020 - Present, Pittsburgh, PA

Facebook AI Research

Research Intern

• Working with Jessica Hodgins and Mustafa Mukadam

May 2019 - Aug 2019, Redmond, WA

Microsoft Research

Research Intern

• Working on imitation learning and sim-to-real transfer of deep control policies with Ashish Kapoor, Vibhav Vineet, and Ratnesh Madaan

Aug 2015 - May 2016, São Paulo, Brazil

McKinsey & Co.

Business Analyst Intern

Jul 2014 - Aug 2014, São Paulo, Brazil

Itaú BBA

Winter Intern, Cost Optimization and Estimation Team

• Itaú BBA is Latin America's largest corporate investment bank, in a holding with $85B market cap

May 2013 - Aug 2013, Thousand Oaks, CA

Amgen Inc.

Summer Intern, Global Strategic Sourcing, Finance and Strategy Team

• Amgen is the largest biotech company in the world with $18.7B in sales in 2013
• Developed and applied statistical analysis to a marketing bench-marking database leading to an estimated 4x increase in savings ($8M) and 60% decrease (4 months) in the time required to perform data analysis


Office NSH 2102
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
rbonatti [at]