0. Main

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and a member of the Robotics Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I am also a member of the Controls Group. I lead the Intelligent Robotics and Autonomy Lab (iRaL). Previously, I was a research scientist at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), and the Laboratory for Information & Decision Systems (LIDS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Ph.D. student at the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering (ESE), University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). I am a recipient of the Best Paper Award in Robot Vision at the 2020 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), and of an Honorable Mention from the 2020 IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L). I was a Best Student Paper Award Finalist at the 2017 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC).


My team and I research safe learning algorithms that help robots adaptively perceive their surroundings, self-navigate, and collaborate.  We care for the robots’ trustworthy collaborative autonomy, focusing on applications where the robots operate (i) in challenging conditions, such as unknown, unpredictable, and dynamic environments, and (ii) even in adversarial environments where failures or attackers can deceive and/or disabling robots, compromising the robots’ teams. 

We investigate provably near-optimal algorithms, contributing tools of combinatorial optimization, and of online learning. We also pair our algorithms with novel hardware that enables and/or additionally enhances the near-optimal performance.

[CV, Bio | Google Scholar | vtzoumas umich.edu (he/him/his) | 3049 François-Xavier Bagnoud Building]


RESEARCH INTERESTS

Trustworthy Collaborative Autonomy:

  • Safe Online Learning and Optimization
  • Perception-Computation-Communication-Control (PC3) Co-Design
  • Novel Self-Reconfigurable Robots

Applications:

  • Outlier-Resilient Perception
  • Safe Learning for Extreme Agility
  • Adaptive Multi-Robot Planning in Unknown, and/or Adversarial Environments
  • Resilient Morphable Multi-Rotors

[Team | Research Overview | Past Research | Publications | Awards & Distinctions]

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RECENT NEWS

  • 07/15/2022: Zirui Xu and I will be organizing the invited session “Resource-Aware Learning and Optimization in Complex Networks” at the IEEE CDC 2022. We look forward to seeing you there.
  • 07/15/2022: Paper on Resource-Aware Distributed Submodular Maximization: A Paradigm for Multi-Robot Decision-Making has been accepted to IEEE CDC 2022. With Zirui Xu.
  • 04/15/2022: Paper Distributed Attack-Robust Submodular Maximization for Multi-Robot Planning has been accepted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics (TRO). With L. Zhou, P. Tokekar, and G. J. Pappas.
  • 03/31/2022: Paper on Resource-Aware Distributed Submodular Maximization: A Paradigm for Multi-Robot Decision-Making. With Zirui Xu.
  • 03/27/2022: Andrew Zhao receives UROP Engineering Summer Research Fellowship to continue working on our Morphable Drones: Simulators and Hardware project over the summer.
  • 03/13/2022: Paper Visual Navigation for Autonomous Vehicles: An Open-source Hands-on Robotics Course at MIT is accepted to IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC). With Luca Carlone, Kasra Khosoussi, Golnaz Habibi, Markus Ryll, Rajat Talak, Jingnan Shi, and Pasquale Antonante.
  • 12/28/2021: Paper Distributed Attack-Robust Submodular Maximization for Multi-Robot Planning has been conditionally accepted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics (TRO). With L. Zhou, P. Tokekar, and G. J. Pappas.
  • 12/28/2021: I will be an Associate Editor for IEEE/RSJ IROS 2022.
  • 10/01/2021: I proudly welcome 13 students to the Intelligent Robotics and Autonomy Lab (iRAL): 2 Ph.D, 5 M.Sc, and 6 B.Sc. students (including 4 UROPs); see our team here.
  • 06/07/2021: Paper Outlier-Robust Estimation: Hardness, Minimally-Tuned Algorithms, and Applications accepted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics (TRO). With Pasquale Antonante, Heng (Hank) Yang, and Luca Carlone.
  • 05/18/21: 2020 Honorable Mention from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters for the paper Graduated Non-Convexity for Robust Spatial Perception: From Non-Minimal Solvers to Global Outlier Rejection. With Heng (Hank) Yang, Pasquale Antonante, and Luca Carlone.
  • 05/14/21: Seminar at the University of Michigan, Sigma Gamma Tau Series.
  • 05/02/21: Seminar at ETH, Autonomy Talk Series.
  • 04/18/21: Paper on Resilient Active Information Acquisition with Teams of Robots accepted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics (TRO). With Brent Schlotfeldt and George J. Pappas.
  • 04/02/21: Seminar at the University of Michigan, Controls Seminars Series.
  • 02/19/21: I am an Associate Editor for IEEE/RSJ IROS 2021.
  • 02/01/21: MathWorks news article on paper Graduated Non-Convexity for Robust Spatial Perception.
  • 01/01/21: MathWorks SLAM implementation of GNC algorithm proposed in paper Graduated Non-Convexity for Robust Spatial Perception.

Ithaca | Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventures, full of learning.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon —don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
[...] 

Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.

[full poem, in Greek, and translated in English]