EECS500 Fall 2014 Department Colloquium

Wyatt Newman
Progress and Challenges in Autonomous Robotics
White 411
September 11, 2014

Team HKU, an international collaborative robotics team based at The University of Hong Kong, led by Wyatt Newman, is competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) with a Boston Dynamics, Inc. “Atlas” humanoid robot.  DRC tasks, based on a disaster-response scenario, include: driving a vehicle, walking over rough terrain, clearing rubble, opening doors and passing through doorways, climbing ladders, using power tools, and turning valves.  Team HKU’s experience from the DRC “trials” in December, 2013 demonstrated that teleoperation is impractically slow and clumsy in such tasks, motivating development of more robot autonomy.  Team HKU has since made rapid progress in making Atlas more independent.  This talk will review techniques and results for endowing Atlas with skills that are applicable to the DRC as well as a wide range of future applications.


Wyatt Newman is a professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University. His research is in the areas of mechatronics, robotics and computational intelligence, in which he has 12 patents and over 125 technical publications. He received the S.B. degree from Harvard College in Engineering Science, the S.M. degree in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T. in thermal and fluid sciences, the M.S.E.E. degree from Columbia University in control theory and network theory, and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T. in design and control. In addition to 26 years on the faculty at CWRU, Prof. Newman has held appointments as: visiting scientist at Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; visiting faculty at Sandia National Laboratories, Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center, Albuquerque, NM; a NASA summer faculty fellow at NASA Glenn Research Center; a visiting fellow in neuroscience at Princeton University; a distinguished visiting fellow at Edinburgh University, School of Informatics, and Hung Hing Ying Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong.