University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Robotics Laboratory



Contact: Max Donath
ME 211
Phone: (612) 625-2304


Robotics Laboratory
ME L136

Research Summary
The focus of the Robotics Laboratory is on behavioral reasoning, on sensors that provide real-time measurement of geometry-based parameters, and on the control of manipulator arms and vehicles. We seek to develop an understanding of the mechanisms needed for integrating sensors, intelligence, and motor control in order to provide the flexibility and adaptability that is typically associated with human function.

Work is presently underway to develop mechanisms for perception, mapping, and navigation in the environment in which a vehicle operates. We are also investigating how to achieve safe means for autonomous control of vehicles in the event that the driver loses control (eg if the driver falls asleep at the wheel).

Our goals are to achieve fault-tolerant behaviors that mimic the human ability to successfully carry out poorly defined and minimally structured tasks.

Work in the laboratory combines theory and experiment in real-time sensing and control of multi-degree-of-freedom motion and force. All the multiprocessor software for controlling our machines was developed in the laboratory. Newer, higher-performance, real-time multiprocessor-based controllers are developed as needed. Courses taught in the Lab provide students with hands-on experience with embedded computing, sensing and computer-controlled machines.

Related Work Related work in vehicle guidance and navigation is being performed in the Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory.