In 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) observed the first detection of gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime created by the cataclysmic collision of two black holes. The Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group played a leading role in this…
Penn Engineering Dean Vijay Kumar, Expert in Flying Robots, Speaking Feb. 20 for University Lectures
The University Lectures series welcomes aerial robotics expert Vijay Kumar, the the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.
His appearance is free and open to the public. The lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Engineering and Computer Science, with media sponsor WAER. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) are available. Requests for accessibility and accommodations may be made to the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS) office at 315.443.4018.
Kumar is recognized around the world for his groundbreaking work on the development of autonomous ground and aerial robots, on designing biologically inspired algorithms for collective behavior and on robot swarms.
In his 2015 TED Talk, “The future of flying robots,” he describes his team’s Precision Farming project, in which swarms of robots map, reconstruct and analyze every plant and piece of fruit in an orchard, providing vital information to farmers that can help improve yields and make water management smarter.
In an earlier TED Talk, from 2012, “Robots that fly … and cooperate,” he concludes his presentation with a recorded demonstration of nine flying robots performing the James Bond theme on six different instruments. Kumar is a huge James Bond fan, and he credits the character “Q” for motivating him to pursue a career in technology. This particular video has had more than 4.36 million viewings.
Kumar was named dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2015. He joined the Penn Engineering faculty in 1987 and prior to his current position served as UPS Foundation Professor with appointments in the departments of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, computer and information science and electrical and systems engineering. As deputy dean for education in 2008-12, he was instrumental in the creation of several innovative master’s degree programs.
Earlier, he served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (2005-08), deputy dean for research (2000-04) and director of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception, or GRASP, Laboratory, a multidisciplinary robotics and perception lab (1998-2004). During a scholarly leave in 2012-14, he served in the White House as assistant director for robotics and cyber physical systems in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Kumar has authored more than 400 refereed articles and papers and more than 20 books and book chapters.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Kumar is recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 1991 National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award; the 1996 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (University of Pennsylvania); the 1997 Freudenstein Award for significant accomplishments in mechanisms and robotics; the 2012 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Award; the 2012 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award; a 2012 World Technology Network Award; a 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough award; a 2014 Engelberger Robotics Award; and the 2017 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation.
The University Lectures series continues with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on April 13 and International WELL Building Institute Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi on April 24.
About Syracuse University
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private international research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through teaching excellence, rigorous scholarship and interdisciplinary research. Comprising 11 academic schools and colleges, the University has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines that prepares students for the complex challenges and emerging opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Students enjoy the resources of a 270-acre main campus and extended campus venues in major national metropolitan hubs and across three continents. Syracuse’s student body is among the most diverse for an institution of its kind across multiple dimensions, and students typically represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Syracuse also has a long legacy of supporting veterans and is home to the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first university-based institute in the U.S. focused on addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.