ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Feb 14

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Professor Venkat Krovi from the Automation Robotics & Mechatronics Lab in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at SUNY- Buffalo will be the ME-EM graduate seminar guest for Thurs. Feb. 14 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM. His presentation is entitled, ‘Cooperative Payload Transport by Robot Collectives’.

Prof. Venkat Krovi is currently an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he directs the Automation Robotics and Mechatronics (ARM) Lab. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are in the lifecycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation and verification) of novel robotic and mechatronic systems, with emphasis on both theoretical formulation and experimental validation. The underlying research theme has been to take advantage of the “power of the many” to unlock new opportunities in various plant-automation, automobile, defense and healthcare/surgical applications. The principal opportunities lie in building upon heterogeneous loosely-interconnected physical- and information-systems and architecting high-confidence and reconfigurable operational capabilities in the presence of uncertainties. His work has been funded by NSF, DARPA, ARO as well as numerous state and industrial grants and has received multiple awards, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, several best poster, conference and journal paper awards. His work has been published in more than 90 journal/conference articles, book chapters and patents. Within ASME he was past Chair of the Robotics Technical Committee (Dynamic Systems and Control Division) and is Chair-Elect for the Mechanisms and Robotics Technical Committee (Design Engineering Division). He has served as the Conference Chair of the 2010 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference and is slated to serve as General Chair of the 2014 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences. Within IEEE, he has served as Finance Chair for CASE 2010, ICRA 2012, IROS 2014 and is a member of the Conference Activities Board and the Industrial Activities Board of the Robotics and Automation Society. He has previously served as an Associate Editor of ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, and the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics – he currently serves an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transaction on Robotics.


Cooperative material-handling by a fleet of decentralized manipulation agents has many applications ranging from hazardous waste removal, material handling on the shop floor, to robot work crews for planetary colonization. Our long-term goal is the development of a theoretical and operational framework to model, analyze, implement and validate cooperative payload transport capabilities in such distributed robot collectives.

Our particular focus is on creation, control and active reconfiguration of marching formations of wheeled mobile robots for cooperative payload transportation tasks. The selection of the underlying physical/informational infrastructure, system architecture, and mechanisms of cooperation creates many alternatives. A systematic framework is therefore critical for evaluation/selection of suitable implementations with quantifiable cooperative-performance benefits and forms the focus of our research activities. In particular, we will present our efforts to develop methodologies for design and optimization of formations for apriori known tasks, adaptation of formations for changing tasks and scalable schemes for control under the common theoretical but computationally tractable framework.

Time permitting, I will also provide a brief overview of the many other related research initiatives ranging from: (a) uneven terrain locomotion systems; (b) human-computer interfaces for mediated teleoperation; (c) haptic user-interface design and (d) quantitative surgical skill assessment.