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Introduction to Robot Intelligence

Fall 2023

Why take this course?

Robotics is a transformative field at the intersection of engineering, artificial intelligence, and automation, focused on designing, constructing, and operating mechanical agents known as robots. At its core lies the aspiration to imbue these machines with a semblance of intelligence, enabling them to perceive, reason, and act autonomously within their environments. Robot intelligence encompasses a spectrum of capabilities, from basic sensor-based tasks to complex decision-making processes. There are many applications of robotics riddled with open problems, including space exploration, self-driving vehicles,warehouse robots and general-purpose home assistants. In this class, we will take the first steps towards understanding the design of robots that can think and act, and learn what is about these open problems that makes them so challenging. Throughout the course, students will be tasked with the captivating challenge of assembling and integrating basic electronic components onto a rover platform, transforming theoretical concepts into tangible creations. By immersing themselves in this practical endeavor, students will not only gain proficiency in electronics, mechanics, and programming, but also cultivate problem-solving skills essential for tackling real-world robotics problems. Through guided projects and collaborative workshops, participants will navigate through a spectrum of robotics problems, ranging from navigation and obstacle avoidance to sensor calibration and autonomous decision-making. Along with the hands on robotics projects we will also be diving deep into the fundamentals of kinematics, dynamics, control, and planning. To conclude the course, we will see how modern ideas in optimization and AI can enable autonomous mobile robots. This is an introductory class, and so our focus will be on understanding foundational robotic concepts while broadly looking at their application in the real world.

What is expected of you?

This class is aimed towards advanced undergraduates and particularly towards students who want to learn robotics and robot AI, but who have never worked on a robot before. This will be a HW and project driven class. There will be no mid-term or final exams. Instead, you will be expected to implement concepts discussed and taught in this class. A portion of the lecture slots will be devoted to hands-on tutorials taught by the course teaching assistant (please see the syllabus for details).

Lerrel Pinto


Aadhithya Iyer

Teaching Assistant

Venkatesh Pattabiraman

Teaching Assistant