Tuesday, February 15, 2022
4 p.m., Zoom
Parikshit MainiPost-Doctoral Associate, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Mobile robots have become ubiquitous today. Advances in on-board computation, hardware design and sensor accuracy have propelled the design of autonomous mobile robots for deployment in real-world applications. Forests, agricultural farms, pastures and grasslands are the largest land use categories in the US and can benefit immensely from the use of autonomous mobile robots. The scale and complexity of operating in these uncontrolled or semi-controlled settings create a need to design algorithms to build and improve autonomous robot capabilities. In this talk, I will present two applications for mobile robot systems to aid in environmental monitoring and to provide sustainable cost-effective agricultural solutions. The first application involves large scale area coverage using aerial imagery. While aerial robots are used extensively for mapping, monitoring and surveillance, their range of operation constraints their use. I will present cooperative planning algorithms to use a ground-based mobile refueling robot to increase the spatio-temporal range of a fuel-constrained unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The second application addresses weed removal in organic dairy pastures using an autonomous mobile robot. The carbon footprint of using diesel-run farm vehicles for weed removal and other agricultural tasks has been a cause of concern, especially in the case of organic farms that do not use chemicals. I will present the design of Cowbot (autonomous weed mowing robot for cow pastures) and online planning algorithms to compute efficient trajectories for the Cowbot that utilize detection information from its onboard sensing systems.
Parikshit Maini is a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Department of CSE at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His research interests are in the design and deployment of autonomous mobile robot systems in semi-controlled and uncontrolled outdoor environments with a focus on environmental and agricultural applications. He is also interested in developing multi-robot systems for field applications and has designed cooperative planning algorithms for heterogeneous mobile robot systems for large-scale area coverage, persistent monitoring and visibility-based monitoring. He received his Ph.D. in CSE in Aug 2020 from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology- Delhi (IIIT-Delhi) in India. He also holds a M.Tech. degree in CSE from IIIT-Delhi (2014) and a B.Tech. degree in IT from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi (2012) in India. He was awarded the first position in the Student Research Competition at the 33rd ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing 2018 for his doctoral work. He is also a recipient of the Tata Consultancy Services Ph.D. Fellowship (2014-2018).