Seminar on "Machine Learning for Safe, High-Performance Control of Mobile Robots"


Monday, May 1, 2017 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm


ESB 1001


Dr. Angela Schoellig

In the last decade, there has been a major shift in the perception, use and predicted applications of robots. In contrast to their early industrial counterparts, robots are envisioned to operate in increasingly complex and uncertain environments, alongside humans, and over long periods of time. Examples range from self-driving cars to unmanned aerial vehicle applications. In my talk, I will argue that machine learning is indispensable in order for this new generation of robots to successfully execute their task. Based on various examples (and videos) ranging from vision-based robot driving to aerial-vehicle racing, I will demonstrate the effect of robot learning, and highlight how our algorithms intertwine model-based control with machine learning. In particular, I will focus on our latest work, which provides safety guarantees for online robot learning by combining traditional control methods (nonlinear, robust and model predictive control) with Gaussian process regression.

Angela Schoellig is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and an Associate Director of the Centre for Aerial Robotics Research and Education (CARRE). With her team, she conducts research at the interface of robotics, controls and machine learning. Her goal is to enhance the performance, safety and autonomy of robots by enabling them to learn from past experiments and from each other.

She is the recipient of a 2017 Sloan Research Fellowship (as one of two in robotics in the US/Canada), a Ministry of Research, Innovation & Science Early Researcher Award, a Connaught New Researcher Award, and the Best Robotics Paper Award at CRV 2014. She is one of Robohub’s “25 women in robotics you need to know about (2013)”, winner of MIT’s Enabling Society Tech Competition, finalist of Dubai’s 2015 $1M “Drones for Good” competition, and youngest member of the 2014 Science Leadership Program, which promotes outstanding scientists in Canada. She has been a keynote speaker at various outreach events including TEDxUofT, Lift China, and the Girls Leadership in Engineering Experience weekend.  

Angela received her Ph.D. from ETH Zurich (with Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea), and holds both an M.Sc. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Prof. Magnus Egerstedt) and a Masters degree in Engineering Cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart, Germany (Prof. Frank Allgower). Her Ph.D. was awarded the ETH Medal and the 2013 Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation Award (as one of 35 worldwide).

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