Pratap Tokekar, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Minnesota
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Data collected from the environment is becoming increasingly important for studying complex phenomena such as climate change. Robotic sensing systems will revolutionize this area by enabling access to data gathered at unprecedented spatio-temporal scales. Environmental science applications, in turn, motivate challenging robotics research problems. In this talk, I will present new algorithms for sensing planning problems motivated by these applications, and the design of robotic monitoring systems developed for two real-world applications.

In the first part, I will present the design of an autonomous robotic system developed for monitoring invasive fish in lakes. In the second part, we will focus on the algorithmic aspects of the art gallery problem, a classical camera placement problem, under constraints motivated by surveillance and visual monitoring. The standard formulation does not take into account self-occlusions of an object-of-interest within the environment. We will formulate the art gallery problem to guarantee that despite self-occlusions, any convex object present anywhere in the environment will be seen from all sides. I will present bounds and approximation algorithms for placing cameras under these constraints. In the third part, I will describe a robotic data collection system for precision agriculture. We will study the problem of planning energy-aware trajectories for collaborative aerial and ground robots in the context of this application. Throughout the talk, along with theoretical results, I will present experiments conducted with autonomous boats in Minnesota lakes, wheeled robots operating on frozen lakes, and an aerial robot operating over a corn plot.

Pratap Tokekar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, advised by Volkan Isler. He obtained his Bachelor of Technology degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from College of Engineering Pune, India in 2008. His research interests include algorithmic and field robotics, sensor networks, and computational geometry.

Hosted by Sriram Sankaranarayanan.

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