Seminar: "Field-Hardened Robotic Autonomy"

Sep 6

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Friday, September 6, 2019 - 1:25pm to 2:40pm

Dr. Kostas Alexis


Dr. Kostas Alexis | University of Nevada, Reno

This talk will present our contributions in the domain of field-hardened resilient robotic autonomy and specifically on multi-modal sensing-degraded GPS-denied localization and mapping, informative path planning, and robust control to facilitate reliable access, exploration, mapping and search of challenging environments such as subterranean settings. The presented work will, among others, emphasize on fundamental developments taking place in the framework of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge and the research of the CERBERUS ( team, alongside work on nuclear site characterization and infrastructure inspection.

Relevant field results from both active and abandoned underground mines as well as tunnels in the U.S. and in Switzerland will be presented. In addition, a selected set of prior works on long-term autonomy, including the world-record on unmanned aircraft endurance will be briefly overviewed. The talk will conclude with directions for future research to enable advanced autonomy and resilience, alongside the necessary connection to education and the potential for major broader impacts to the benefit of our economy and society. 


Kostas Alexis obtained his Ph.D. in the field of aerial robotics control and collaboration from the University of Patras, Greece in 2011. His Ph.D. research was supported by the Greek National-European Commission Excellence scholarship. After successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis, he was awarded a Swiss Government fellowship and moved to Switzerland and ETH Zurich. From 2012 to June 2015 he held the position of Senior Researcher at the Autonomous Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, leading the lab efforts in the fields of control and path planning for advanced navigational and operational autonomy. As of summer 2015 he has been an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science & Engineering Department of the University of Nevada, Reno.

He is the founder and director of the Autonomous Robots Lab ( involving more than 15 researchers and conducting research in the domain of autonomy, perception, planning and control. Dr. Alexis' research has received multiple awards, includes the world record in unmanned aircraft endurance, and has been funded by a variety of sources including DARPA, NSF, DOE, USDA, NASA, the European Commission, the private sector and other sources.

Hosted by Dr. Michael Zavlanos