CSCE 990: Robotics Today
Fall 2019


Dr. Carrick Detweiler (primary point of contact)
carrick _at_

Dr. Justin Bradley
justin.bradley _at_

Dr. Brittany Duncan
bduncan _at_

Office Hours with Dr. Detweiler most Mondays 9:30-10:30 in 220 Schorr and by email appointment.

Course Information

Mon, Weds, Fri 10:30-11:20pm in Avery 110
Mon, Weds 10:30-11:45pm in Schorr 211

For detailed information on this course please see the course syllabus in html or pdf format.

Course Description

Robots play an increasingly important role in our lives, from assembling our cars and cell phones to vacuuming our rugs and flying recon missions. To create systems that work in the real world, the field of robotics requires robust theory and algorithms that are tightly integrated with hardware that is designed with engineering expertise. This course explores fundamental algorithms of robotics and how they are implemented and coupled with real world systems. The topics covered in this course will be based on input from the class and will generally cover topics in field robotics, cyber physical systems, unmanned aerial systems, and human robot interaction. We will explore these topics through the critical analysis of classic and contemporary articles in the field of robotics. By examining algorithms and systems used in the real world, we will determine what it takes to go from theory to implementation. In this class, students will present, discuss, and write analyses of robotics research. In addition, a semester-long group project will allow students to further explore areas of interest in robotics. The goal of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the challenges and current state of the art in robotics and to improve critical analysis skills.

Course Schedule

Below is an approximate schedule of course topics and due dates. These are subject to change, assignments will be announced in class. Readings will be added as the semester progresses, so make sure to check back often.

Most articles are available from on campus by clicking on the links below. If this does not work (or you are off campus), try google, using the UNL VPN or the UNL library website. If you are still unable to download the article, contact a classmate or me for a copy.
Week Readings Tentative Due Dates
Week 1, Aug 26 Monday: Course Intro
A. Bircher, M. Kamel, K. Alexis, H. Oleynikova, and R. Siegwart, Receding horizon path planning for 3D exploration and surface inspection, Auton Robot, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 291-306, Feb. 2018.

Course Survey Due Tues
Week 2, Sept 2 Monday: NO CLASS, Labor Day
[1] How to Read a Scientific Article. Rice University, 2004. Online.
[2] S. Keshav. How to Read a Paper. Online.
Week 3, Sept 9 Monday: (Alisha)
M. G. Muller, F. Steidle, M. J. Schuster, P. Lutz, M. Maier, S. Stoneman, T. Tomic, and W. Sturzl. Robust Visual-Inertial State Estimation with Multiple Odometries and Efficient Mapping on an MAV with Ultra-Wide FOV Stereo Vision. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2018.
[1] R. A. Day, "How to write a scientific paper," ASM News, vol. 42, pp. 486-494, 1975.
[2] English Communication for Scientists: Writing Scientific Papers
(not required to read, but another reference) [3] Writing for computer science. New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2015.
Week 4, Sept 16 Monday:
M. Cakmak and A. L. Thomaz, Designing Robot Learners That Ask Good Questions, in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, New York, NY, USA, 2012, pp. 17-24.
Wednesday: (Siya)
M. E. Walker, H. Hedayati, and D. Szafir, Robot Teleoperation with Augmented Reality Virtual Surrogates, in 2019 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 2019, pp. 202-210.
Finalize Project Groups (Wednesday)
Week 5, Sept 23 Monday: (Mike)
K. A. Roundtree, M. A. Goodrich, and J. A. Adams, Transparency: Transitioning From Human-Machine Systems to Human-Swarm Systems, Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 171-195, Sep. 2019.
Wednesday: No Class
Schedule 30 minute group meetings with Dr. Detweiler
Develop Project Proposal
Week 6, Sept 30 Monday: (Chenxi)
J. R. Cauchard, J. L. E, K. Y. Zhai, and J. A. Landay, Drone & Me: An Exploration into Natural Human-drone Interaction, in Proceedings of the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, New York, NY, USA, 2015, pp. 361-365.
Discuss project ideas in groups (bring draft of proposal!).
Final Project Proposal Due
Week 7, Oct 7 Monday: (Junzhe)
R. M. Aronson, T. Santini, T. C. Kubler, E. Kasneci, S. Srinivasa, and H. Admoni, Eye-Hand Behavior in Human-Robot Shared Manipulation, in Proceedings of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, New York, NY, USA, 2018, pp. 4-13.
J. B. Lyons, M. A. Clark, A. R. Wagner, and M. J. Schuelke, Certifiable Trust in Autonomous Systems: Making the Intractable Tangible, AI Magazine, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 37-49, Oct. 2017.
Week 8, Oct 14 Monday: (Krishna)
J. Tan, T. Zhang, E. Coumans, A. Iscen, Y. Bai, D. Hafner, S. Bohez, and V. Vanhoucke, Sim-to-Real: Learning Agile Locomotion For Quadruped Robots, Apr. 2018 [Online]
Z. Ren, T. Wang, W. Hu, and M. Sitti, Magnetically-Actuated Untethered Jellyfish-Inspired Soft Milliswimmer., RSS, 2019.
Week 9, Oct 21
Fall Break Mon-Tues
Monday: No Class
Final Project Status Reports on RW
Final Project Status Reports on RW
Week 10, Oct 28 Monday:
Heemels, W. P. M. H., et al. Stability analysis and controller synthesis for hybrid dynamical systems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 368.1930 (2010): 4937-4960.
Wednesday: (Xinkai)
DeCastro, Jonathan A., and Hadas Kress-Gazit. Synthesis of nonlinear continuous controllers for verifiably correct high-level, reactive behaviors. The International Journal of Robotics Research 34.3 (2015): 378-394.
Week 11, Nov 4 Monday: (Mohannad)
Feyzabadi, Seyedshams, and Stefano Carpin. Risk-aware path planning using hirerachical constrained markov decision processes. Automation Science and Engineering (CASE), 2014 IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2014.
Gopalan, Nakul, et al. Planning with abstract Markov decision processes. Twenty-Seventh International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling. 2017.
Week 12, Nov 11 Monday: (Yanfeng)
K. M. Feigh, M. C. Dorneich, and C. C. Hayes, Toward a characterization of adaptive systems a framework for researchers and system designers, Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, vol. 54, no. 6, pp. 1008–1024, 2012.
Sheridan, Thomas B. Adaptive automation, level of automation, allocation authority, supervisory control, and adaptive control: distinctions and modes of adaptation. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics-Part A: Systems and Humans 41.4 (2011): 662-667.
Final Project Status Reports
Week 13, Nov 18 Monday: (Ji Young)
T. Johannink et al., Residual Reinforcement Learning for Robot Control, 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Montreal, QC, Canada, 2019, pp. 6023-6029. doi: 10.1109/ICRA.2019.8794127
He, Wei, Yiting Dong, and Changyin Sun. Adaptive neural impedance control of a robotic manipulator with input saturation. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems 46.3 (2015): 334-344.
All Article Reviews Due (Wednesday)
Week 14, Nov 25
Thanksgiving Weds-Fri
Wednesday: No Class
Final Project Writeup Due (Monday)
Week 15, Dec 2 Monday:
Final Project Videos Due (Mon)
Final Project Article Reviews Due (Weds)
Week 16, Dec 9 Monday:
Project Presentations (M,W) and Final Writeup Due (Fri)