Vijay Kumar Receives Heilmeier Research Award

Vijay KumarVijay Kumar, UPS Foundation Professor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, has been named the recipient if the 2012-13 George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research for "pioneering contributions to the science and technology of cooperative robotics." Kumar, who is on sabbatical leave, is currently serving as the Assistant Director for Robotics and Cyber Physical Systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Heilmeier Award honors a Penn Engineering faculty member whose work is scientifically meritorious and has high technological impact and visibility. It is named for George H. Heilmeier, a Penn Engineering alumnus and overseer whose technological contributions include the development of liquid crystal displays and whose honors include the National Medal of Science and Kyoto Prize.

Kumar studies collective behaviors in biological and robotic systems to design novel architectures, create abstractions for systems of interacting individuals, and develop new algorithms for cooperating robots. The overarching themes in his research include modeling nature and developing bio-inspired architectures and algorithms, understanding group/individual dynamics, and the design and composition of controllers for robust, scaleable autonomous systems.

Kumar is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He
has served on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics and the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics (STAR). He is the recipient of 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 and a 2012 World Technology Network Award. He has won best paper awards at DARS 2002, ICRA 2004, ICRA 2011, and RSS 2011 and has advised doctoral students who have won Best Student Paper Awards at ICRA 2008, RSS 2009, and DARS 2010. He is also a Distinguished Lecturer in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and an elected member of the Robotics and Automation Society Administrative Committee (2007-2012).

Kumar received his Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania since 1987.

Kumar will deliver the Heilmeier Research Award Lecture entitled "Aerial Robot Swarms" on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in Wu and Chen Auditorium. To learn more about Kumar and his research, visit his faculty research profile.