February 20, 2018 - 7:30 pm — 9:30 pm
Vijay Kumar is a renowned roboticist and the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering with appointments in the departments of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, computer and information science, and electrical and systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
His research interests are in robotics, specifically multi-robot systems, and micro aerial vehicles.
Kumar’s 2012 TED Talk, “Robots that fly … and cooperate,” has had more than 4.3 million views; it concludes with a recorded demonstration of nine flying robots performing the James Bond theme on six different instruments. Kumar is a huge James Bond fan, and he credits the character “Q” for motivating him to pursue a career in technology.
In another TED Talk, “The future of flying robots,” from 2015, Kumar discusses his lab’s work creating autonomous small robots constructed with smartphones, an aerial robot with an eagle-like claw and very small aerial robots inspired by honeybees. He goes on to describe his team’s Precision Farming project, in which swarms of robots map, reconstruct and analyze every plant and piece of fruit in an orchard, providing vital information to farmers that can help improve yields and make water management smarter.
Kumar is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2003), a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (2005) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2013).
He is 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; a 2012 World Technology Network Award; a 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough award; a 2014 Engelberger Robotics Award; and the 2017 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation.
Since joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1987, Kumar has served Penn Engineering in many capacities, including deputy dean for research; deputy dean for education; chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics; and director of the GRASP Laboratory, a multidisciplinary robotics and perception laboratory.
In 2012-13, Kumar served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The University Lectures series was created through, and is supported by, the generosity of alumnus Robert B. Menschel ’51. The cross-disciplinary series brings to Syracuse University notable guest speakers of exceptional accomplishment who share their diverse global experiences and perspectives.
Vijay Kumar is followed by Maureen Dowd on April 13 and Rick Fedrizzi on April 24. All three events are free and will take place in Hendricks Chapel. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) are available at each lecture.