Penn Engineering Students Take Top Honor at Robotics Science and Systems Conference

July 2, 2009

Nathan Michael and Jonathan Fink won Best Student Paper for their work on “Cooperative Manipulation and Transportation with Aerial Robots,” at this year’s Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) conference in Seattle, Washington.  As winners, they will receive a $2500 award sponsored by Springer Science and Business Media.

Michael, a recent Ph.D. graduate (MEAM ’08) and Fink, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Electrical and Systems Engineering, worked with Professor Vijay Kumar on their research dealing with aerial robots.  The paper considers the problem of controlling multiple robots manipulating and transporting a payload in three dimensions via cables. For the research, they developed robot configurations that ensure static equilibrium of the payload at a desired pose while respecting constraints on the tension and provide analysis of payload stability for these configurations. In the paper, Michael and Fink demonstrate their methods on a team of aerial robots via simulation and experimentation.

A video of the work being done with aerial robots can be found here.  

For more information on the RSS Conference, visit